Dedication of the Robert C. Khayat Law Center
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones ■ Reverend Curtis E. Presley III ■ Governor Haley R. Barbour ■
Lieutenant Governor D. Phillip Bryant ■ Senator W. Thad Cochran ■ Senator Roger F. Wicker
Chief Justice William L. Waller Jr ■ William C. Trotter III ■ Dean I. Richard Gershon ■
Jaklyn L. Wrigley ■ Aubrey B. Patterson Jr ■ John R. Grisham Jr ■
Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat ■ Provost Morris H. Stocks
Dean I. Richard Gershon ■ Governor William F. Winter ■ Dr. Daniel P. Jordan ■ Charlie Flowers ■
Dean Emeritus Parham H. Williams Jr ■ Justice Reuben V. Anderson • Professor Robert A. Weems
Professor Emeritus Guthrie T. Abbott ■ Judge S. Allan Alexander ■ Professor Deborah H. Bell ■
Mary Ann Connell ■ Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton ■ Dr. Andrew P. Mullins Jr ■
J. Warner Alford Jr ■ Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
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University of Mississippi
DANIEL W. JONES Chancellor
MORRIS H. STOCKS Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
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MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL
Published by Students at the
University of Mississippi School of Law
VOLUME 81 2011 NUMBER 1
The Mississippi Law Journal would like to thank the
following individuals for their assistance with this
Dr. Gloria Kellum
D. Eric Schieffer
*A11 Photographs Included in this Issue
Are Provided Courtesy of the
University of Mississippi
MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL
Published by Students at the
University of Mississippi School of Law
VOLUME 81 2011 NUMBER 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DEDICATION CEREMONY SPEECHES
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones 1
Reverend Curtis E. Presley III 2
Governor Haley R. Barbour 5
Lieutenant Governor D. Phillip Bryant 6
Senator W. Thad Cochran 8
Senator Roger F. Wicker 9
Chief Justice William L. Waller Jr 10
William C. Trotter III n
Dean I. Richard Gershon 12
Jaklyn L. Wrigley 14
Aubrey B. Patterson Jr 15
JohnR. Grisham Jr 18
Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat 22
Provost Morris H. Stocks 2 7
TRIBUTES TO CHANCELLOR ROBERT C. KHAYAT
Dean I. Richard Gershon 35
Governor William F. Winter 3 7
Dr. Daniel P. Jordan 41
Charlie Flowers 4 7
Dean Emeritus Parham H. Williams Jr 51
Justice Reuben V.Anderson 55
Professor Robert A. Weems 59
Professor Emeritus Guthrie T. Abbott 63
JudgeS. Allan Alexander 67
Professor Deborah H. Bell 71
Mary Ann Connell 75
Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton 83
Dr. Andrew P. Mullins Jr 87
J. Warner AlfordJr 91
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones 97
DEDICATION OF THE ROBERT C. KHAYAT
April 15, 20 IP
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Good afternoon. I am pleased to welcome you to this very
special celebration, which marks completion of our magnificent
new law center and honors our former chancellor's many
contributions to our great university.
Thank you for being here and for accommodating the change
of venue dictated by the weather. Though we'll miss the
opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the Robert C. Khayat Law
Center during the ceremony, we enjoy the splendor of the
* The following is an edited transcript of the dedication ceremony for the Robert C.
Khayat Law Center, the home of the University of Mississippi School of Law. The event
celebrated the completion of the law center's construction and honored Chancellor
Emeritus Robert C. Khayat for his years of service to the university and the school of
2 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
magnificent Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center, another
great result of the remarkable leadership of the man we honor
Please join me in thanking the string quartet composed of Dr.
Robert Riggs, professor of Music. Others in the string quartet Ms.
Valencia Thevenin, Ms. Elizabeth Taylor, both graduate students
in Music and Dr. Daniell Mattern, professor of Chemistry for the
lovely prelude music provided today. Thank you.
Now would you please stand for the presentation of colors by
the university's joint ROTC color guard? Please remain standing
for the national anthem by Mr. David Walton, a graduate student
in Vocal Performance, and for our invocation to be presented by
Reverend Curtis Presley III, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church
and a graduate of our school of law.
Reverend Curtis E. Presley III
Let us pray. Our gracious Heavenly Father, we gather here
this afternoon to dedicate a school of law. At one level, a building
made out of bricks and stone, a place with halls and classrooms,
and offices that will be teaming with all sorts of people. At another
level, a place of instruction, a place of learning, a place of hard
work for men and women who will have wide impact in the lives of
many, many other people for many years. We pray that you will
use well this building. We pray that you will produce in this
building and from this building people who care not simply about
the goods of this world, but who care about the good that they may
do their fellow man in this world. People who make livings, as well
as people who make lives. We pray even as justice and mercy kiss
at the cross of Jesus Christ, so there will be graduates from this
place, this new law school, who will be instruments of justice and
mercy. Graduates who will take to heart the words of the prophet
Micah when he says, "He has told you, man, what is good; And
what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love
kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." All of these things
we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 3
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
This truly is a wonderful day, not only for our university and
its school of law, but also for a man who has given great effort,
immeasurable love, and notable ability to our entire university,
including its school of law. His work and devotion have
transformed this university, and brought her great admiration
and respect. We are here today to honor him and his family, and
to publicly express our deep appreciation to them by dedicating
our grand new law facility the Robert C. Khayat Law Center.
It took several years for Robert to be persuaded for this to be
done. But today, we are celebrating his years of service to our
university, and the lives that he and his wife Margaret have led.
They have unselfishly given their lives to this university, and we
are profoundly grateful to both of them.
Now let's welcome members of the Khayat family to this
august occasion. Please stand or wave to us as we call your name.
First, of course, we want to welcome Robert and Margaret Khayat.
Their daughter Margaret Khayat Bratt and her husband David of
Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their son Robert C. Khayat, Jr., and his
wife Susannah, and Robert and Margaret's grandchildren Molly,
Ben, and Betsey — all of Decatur, Georgia. Susannah's mother,
Carol Walker of Atlanta, is with us. Robert's brother Eddie
Khayat and his wife Deborah of Nashville. Robert's sister, Edna
Boone, and her husband Tom of Ocean Springs. And Robert's
sister Kathy Murray of Moss Point. Please let me ask any other
family and friends sitting with the Khayat family to stand and let
us welcome you now please.
We are pleased to have a college board member with us
today, one of our own graduates, Dr. Stacy Davidson and his wife
Fay from Cleveland, Mississippi.
Partial funding for this project comes from state support.
Would members of the Mississippi legislature please stand and
allow us to express our appreciation to you.
We are pleased to have with us a number of state and local
elected officials, including members of the judiciary. Would all
present and former state and local elected officials please stand
and allow us to express appreciation to you.
We are pleased that many of the thousands of members of the
law school's alumni chapter and Lamar Order are here for this
4 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
grand celebration. Would all of our alumni please stand and be
recognized. Thank you all for being here.
We are also pleased to have several former law deans with us
today. I will ask you to stand as I call your name and we will
recognize them together when I have concluded this group. First,
Dr. Samuel Davis who served as dean from 1997 to 2010. Dr.
Guthrie "Guff Abbott, the school's interim dean from 1985 to
1987. Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton, interim dean from 1993 to 1994.
Dr. Parham Williams, dean from 1971 to 1985.
When considering the leaders of the school of law, we must
not forget those who have had a strong and steady influence on
the school, our faculty and staff. Chief among them are the
school's emeriti law professors: Aaron Condon, Larry S. Bush,
Michael Featherstone, Don L. Fruge, and Carolyn Ellis Staton.
Let's recognize them. And of course we are grateful to all of our
current law school faculty, and staff, and students.
This building is the first LEED, or Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design, registered building on our campus. LEED
is a points rating system for high efficiency buildings. When the
post-occupancy evaluation of the building is complete, we
anticipate a "Gold" rating for this building.
The firm responsible for designing this stunning building is
Eley & Associates of Jackson, which has won thirty-nine
architectural awards, and has designed several of our beautiful
and functional buildings on campus, such as our newest
residential college. Jim Eley and several of his colleagues and
some of their family members are here.
And the group that perfectly executed those wonderful
designs is W.G. Yates & Sons Construction of Philadelphia, one of
the nation's largest contractors. William G. Yates, Jr., the CEO of
the firm, is an Ole Miss graduate and has also received our
Engineer of Distinction Award in 1992, served on our foundation
board, and is a generous financial contributor, and built our
campus chapel, the Paris-Yates Chapel, among other buildings on
Members of the university's own architectural and facilities
planning team, Ian Banner and Chad Hunter, were an important
part of the success of this building project. I also want to recognize
Jeff McManus and members of the landscape services crews for
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 5
making the grounds of our law center as well as our entire campus
This celebration is the culmination of more than seven or
eight years of dedicated work by hundreds of people. The seed for
this dream was planted by our former provost, Carolyn Ellis
Staton, and my chief of staff, Andy Mullins. They did this over a
cup of coffee, they tell me, in 2003 or 2004. They discussed the law
school's need for a new home and the university's need for more
That seed was quickly nurtured by Timothy Hall, Sam Davis,
Bill Goodman, Crymes Pittman, Jamie White, Macey Edmondson,
Reed Crawford, Gloria Kellum, Alice Clark, Tim Walsh, Wendell
Weakley, and a host of others — many of whom are in the audience.
This dream became a reality when they and some 600 others
made it their business to provide funding for our great facility. As
the project evolved, dedicated law faculty and staff devoted many
hours to its design. We are grateful to Kristy Gilliland and
members of the committee she chaired, which helped plan and
program this project. So would all our law center donors, as well
as Kristy and her committee, please stand and let us say a big
thank you for your support for this project.
It is now my privilege to introduce the distinguished
individuals who bring greetings to us today on behalf of several
groups. The first was to be our governor, the Honorable Haley
Barbour, who was bringing greetings on behalf of the State of
Mississippi. Regretfully, Governor Barbour had to be out-of-state
today, but asked that I read this letter to you dated April 15, 2011.
Governor Haley R. Barbour
Dear Chancellor Jones:
Congratulations on the dedication of the Robert C. Khayat
Law Center at the University of Mississippi. This state-of-the-
art facility is certainly a showpiece for the university and our
state. What a special occasion it is to celebrate its opening
and to honor my former professor and dear friend for whom
the law center is named.
The rich history of the Ole Miss Law School, along with its
innovation and growth, ensures that it will continue to be a
6 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
pillar among law schools. I am proud of my Ole Miss law
education and am thankful for the strong leadership and
vision of Chancellor Dan Jones and Dean Richard Gershon to
keep moving the University of Mississippi forward.
Marsha and I send our warmest regards and best wishes on
this historic day for the university.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Bringing additional greetings on behalf of our great state is
Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant. Governor Bryant was elected
Mississippi's thirty- seventh lieutenant governor in 2007. His life
of public service has included time as our state auditor, a member
of the Mississippi House of Representatives, and as a deputy
sheriff. In all his public roles, he has been a steadfast advocate for
accountability in the use of public funds. We are proud that
Governor Bryant's daughter, Katie Bryant, is a 2010 cum laude
graduate of our law school.
Please join me in welcoming Lieutenant Governor Phil
Lieutenant Governor D. Phillip Bryant
Thank you. Good afternoon. I wish that that resume said
"and a graduate of Ole Miss Law School," but I am honored that
my daughter is. I tell people my happiest day in the Grove was
when she graduated. This law school that we talk about both past
and future has produced great men and women. Look on this
stage. United States senators, judges, chief judges, world-famous
authors. It will go on, I believe, as the Robert C. Khayat School of
Law to produce great statesmen and public servants. Those that
rise above their own interests to serve the people of the State of
Mississippi and in fact, the United States of America. It has taken
our children, placed them in these classrooms with fine law
professors, and made out of them great jurists, great senators,
great congressmen, representatives, chairmen, many are called
today. But one day they were called students and generations
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 7
hence will look back to this day and say again, the torch was
Young attorneys will be honored to walk across the stage
some day in the Grove of the Robert Khayat Law School and
accept that doctor of jurisprudence. At that moment their lives
will be changed. Now, for a few agonizing weeks, they will do like
Katie and wait for the results of the BAR exam. Then they will go
on to change the world, like Robert C. Khayat has.
Today we heard at lunch a poem that sounded more as a
hymn that was written by this Renaissance man. It talked about
touching the hem of the garment. A short time ago Dr. Khayat
and I had an opportunity to talk, and the chancellor and I shared
our faith and how we believe that the Lord has presented such
opportunities to bring us here, at this moment, at this time. And I
will say a prayer tonight, thankful that the Lord brought to Ole
Miss and to the State of Mississippi, Robert C. Khayat. And that
today we honor his service and dedicate for today, for this time,
and for all time, this fine, new Robert. C. Khayat School of Law.
Congratulations, Mr. Chancellor and thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
It is my great pleasure to now introduce Mississippi's senior
U.S. Senator, the Honorable Thad Cochran. When he was on
campus for the dedication of our Thad Cochran Research Center,
Chancellor Khayat said that Senator Thad Cochran and the
people of Mississippi have been involved in a long-term,
continuous love affair. Those words are truer today than they
were then, because this is Senator Cochran's thirty-ninth year on
He was elected to Congress in 1972 and elected to the U.S.
Senate in 1978. Since then, he has utilized his amazing ability, his
office, and his committee appointments to advocate for strong
education programs around our state, and throughout our nation.
Evidence of his commitment to education and research is
found at all of our state universities. Here, we owe him a great
debt for advocating for our Natural Products Center, Water and
Wetlands Resource Center, our Food Service Management
Institute, and many other critical programs. Please welcome a
8 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
great statesman, a great alumnus, and friend of the university,
Senator Thad Cochran.
Senator W. Thad Cochran
Thank you. Thank you very much, chancellor. I appreciate
the generous introduction and especially appreciate being invited
to be a part of this wonderful ceremony here today, honoring a
good friend of mine, a former classmate of mine here at the
University of Mississippi. We had a class in Spanish together, we
got to know each other right away as students, and I came to be
impressed with him, not only in the classrooms but on the fields of
football and baseball, where he was All-American and really one of
the finest competitors in the best sense of the word. Always a
gentleman, fair, but really good. And he loved to win, and Ole
Miss did win.
Well this is a special day of recognition for this new law
center, honoring our friend Robert Khayat, our former chancellor,
and our always loyal friend. There is no one who has done more
for this university in so many different ways, and I have
mentioned a few. But this law school made tremendous strides,
academically and financially, under his leadership as dean and as
a professor of law. The opening of the new law center will enable
Ole Miss to make further contributions to the benefit of all of our
state in the years to come. So I'm here to congratulate my friend
Robert Khayat for this well-deserved honor and wish him much
success and pleasure in the years ahead. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
We are honored to have with us today another great alumnus
and friend of the university, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. Senator
Wicker was elected to the Senate in 2008, after representing us in
Congress for eight terms. Senator Wicker has been a strong
supporter of healthcare research. He has received the American
Heart Association's National Public Service Award and the
American Cancer Society's Capital Dome Award for his efforts. He
has also been instrumental in bringing research funding to
Mississippi universities for health-related projects that are
fighting disease and improving the quality of life in our state.
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 9
Please join me in welcoming another great university friend and
alumnus, Senator Roger Wicker.
Senator Roger F. Wicker
Thank you. Thank you, Chancellor Jones, Dr. Khayat. Ladies
and gentlemen, brought to you from Moss Point High School, in
cooperation with John Vaught Productions, presenting an Ole
Miss adventure! His mind is faster than a speeding bullet; his
drive is more powerful than a locomotive; able to leap over
stubborn search committees in a single bound. Look, up in the sky
box! He's a jock; he's a judge; he's a brain. Yes, he's Khayat-man!
Extraordinary visitor from the other end of our state, he came to
our community with strange powers and abilities far beyond those
of mortal men. Khayat-man who can change the course of a
mighty university, bend the will of student bodies and alumni
with the force of his persuasiveness, talk elderly widows into
leaving large endowments. We love you Gertrude. And who,
disguised as a student athlete, Bobby Khayat, and later as a mild-
mannered law professor, fights a never-ending battle for truth,
justice, and the Ole Miss way.
Now, Robert, I apologize for that. But to you and your family
this is a great day — for you, for Ole Miss, for the law school, and
for the entire Ole Miss community. You came to Oxford in 1956,
and we really never have let you go. Of course, there were brief
moments practicing law, and with the Redskins, and up at Yale,
but everyone always knew where you belonged and where you
would end up — here and on top. For all of us, we've shared so
many experiences with Robert Khayat: NCAA Foundation, NCAA
probation; from the Meredith crisis to the Meredith statue crisis;
from expanding the stadium to banning sticks from the stadium;
from Vaught to Orgeron and everywhere in between; to Phi Beta
Kappa and Croft and the Honors College; from breaking in new
congressmen to breaking old stereotypes. My friends, in a way
Robert Khayat has been Superman, but in a very real sense he is
also every man, with the ability to be one of us — to make us see
that we are all in this together. Robert, we are your family, with
all the ups and downs that means, you are our man and today is
your day. Congratulations.
1 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Also bringing greetings today is the Honorable William L.
Waller, Jr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Justice Waller is also an alumnus of our law school and another
great friend of the university. He practiced law for more than 20
years with Waller & Waller in Jackson and was a municipal judge
before being elected to the supreme court. He served as presiding
justice from 2004 to 2008, and became chief justice in 2009. Please
welcome the Honorable William L. Waller, Jr.
Chief Justice William L. Waller Jr.
It is an honor and privilege to offer a few remarks today on
behalf of the judiciary. The Waller and Khayat families have been
friends a long time, and I have perhaps a different view of him
from what my friend, colleague, and classmate Senator Wicker
offered. He and my mother used to exchange devotionals. I know
him as a man of faith and a man of leadership as he served as
associate dean when I was at the law school. According to Ian
Banner, who has been recognized as the director of facilities and
the university architect, there are three broad architectural goals
in any building project: firmness, commodity, and delight.
Firmness, the building must be able to fulfill its chief functions.
Commodity, the building must be economical and fit for its
intended use. And finally, delight, the structure should be
appealing to the senses and uplifting. In my view, the Khayat Law
Center went above and beyond each of these goals. In fact, I
believe it is the preeminent academic structure in our state.
Why is such a building so important to the law? It is because
this building communicates the vital significance of law in our
society. The law brings order, structure, predictability, and a
means for peaceful resolution of disputes. The Khayat Law Center
symbolizes the value of law. Within these walls, students will
study and engage themselves in principles, concepts, and nuances.
And they will be motivated to pursue its highest ideals. Winston
Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings and afterwards our
buildings shape us." The beautiful state-of-the-art Khayat Center
will certainly shape and inspire the future leaders of our state and
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 11
nation, who in turn, will protect and advance the rule of law for
generations to come. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Also here to bring greetings on behalf of our law alumni is
William C. Trotter III, known to us as "Cham." Cham is president
of our Law Alumni Chapter, a group of individuals who have
played a monumental role in funding this building's construction.
Cham practices law with Garrard & Trotter in Belzoni. Please join
me in welcoming Cham Trotter.
William C. Trotter III
Mr. Chief Justice, I am so delighted that I did not have to
follow Senator Wicker. Ladies and gentlemen, as president of the
Law Alumni Chapter of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, it is my
privilege at this dedication of the Robert C. Khayat School of Law
to represent the 9,684 graduates since our founding in 1854 of the
Ole Miss Law School. I have been reliably informed this morning
by the computer at the alumni association that at the present
time — not having read the obituaries this morning — that there are
7,186 of us still alive. And I'm glad to report that a good many of
us are here today to honor our friend, Robert Khayat.
This school has provided the legal education for so many
distinguished lawyers, throughout not only Mississippi but well
beyond our borders. And we as alumni accept the responsibility of
giving back of our time, our talent, and our treasure to our alma
mater. Our school of law alumni are cognizant of and we celebrate
our past, we're confident in our present condition, and we're up to
the challenge of the future.
You know our law school has only had five previous homes.
We started in the Lyceum building in 1854 with one law school
professor and seven students. In 1894 we moved just north of the
Lyceum to Jefferson Hall. In 1911 Jefferson Hall was torn down to
make way for the building of Peabody, and about that time the
library had moved into the new library, with money from the
Carnegie Foundation, which is now Bryant Hall. Well, they had
that turreted building there at the beginning of the Circle; it had
an "L" on the front door, so we moved into there — law school. It's
12 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
now Liberal Arts. That's pretty smart. I think we do things pretty
well around here. We stayed in that building until 1930, when we
moved into our first new law school which was right across the
Grove on the north side. It was called Lamar Hall. We stayed in
there until we built a new Lamar Hall on the parking lot just east
of where we had been. We renamed that building Lamar Hall, and
then the old building we named after Dean Farley. We're now in
Khayat Hall. You know it just sounds good to say that, doesn't it?
"Hey, I'm going to class in Khayat Hall today." That's just
You know, when we formed the Law Alumni Chapter — when
the alumni association had the good sense to think about that the
lawyers were ten percent of the alumni of the University of
Mississippi — they were also real smart to hire a young law
student as the first staff director of the Law Alumni Chapter.
They paid that young law student the magnificent sum of $300 per
month to do that job, and his name was Robert Khayat. Robert
Khayat is our colleague; he's our professor; he's our role model;
he's our chancellor; he's our sports hero; and he's always, through
every bit of that, been our friend. We thank him for all he's done
for our wonderful university and its law school. And our prayer is
that the showers of blessing from our Heavenly Father will
continue to fall upon him and his family. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Richard Gershon became dean of the law school last July,
after serving as the dean of the Charleston School of Law and the
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Since becoming dean of
our law school, Richard is already a proven leader and has
demonstrated his commitment to students, faculty, and alumni.
Please join me in welcoming Law Dean Richard Gershon.
Dean I. Richard Gershon
Thank you, Dr. Jones. Good afternoon and thank all of you
for being here on this wonderful occasion. I am pleased to
represent those of us who actually get to work and teach in the
building — and it is a beautiful building. It's an honor, it's a
privilege to work in a building named for Chancellor Emeritus
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 13
Robert C. Khayat. As a relative newcomer, I had heard a lot about
Chancellor Khayat and heard all these stories — and as Senator
Wicker said — I said nobody can be that good, nobody can be
Superman. He really is that good, and getting to know him has
been a privilege.
We're truly grateful to everyone who made this building a
reality. We're indebted to the State of Mississippi, the IHL, our
U.S. senators and representatives, our outstanding university
leadership for understanding the impact this building will have on
education in our state, and in particular legal education in our
state. We're also especially indebted to the donors, alumni, and
friends of the university and the law school and of Robert Khayat
who gave so generously to the campaign to make this building a
reality. You built this building with your support, through your
donations of time and talents. You built it with your ideas and
your shared vision. You built it by not quitting when obstacles
blocked your path — and when weaker or less committed people
would have abandoned the effort.
We know that our challenge — those of us who work in the
building, and teach there, and learn there — is to run a program of
legal education worthy of this building. Our duty is to train the
next generation of outstanding ethical lawyers who understand
their obligation to give back to society. I can assure everyone here
the faculty, staff, and students of this law school are up to that
challenge. And we will fulfill our duty. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
This grand new law center provides a wonderful learning
environment for our law students and our faculty. Bringing us
greeting on behalf of our entire law school student body is Ms.
Jaklyn Wrigley of Ocean Springs, the group's president.
Jaklyn is a member of the Mississippi Law Journal staff. On
graduation this spring, she plans to practice law as a litigation
associate with the Gulfport office of Watkins Ludlam Winter &
Stennis. Please join me in welcoming Miss Jaklyn Wrigley.
14 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
Jaklyn L. Wrigley
Well, I'm following a bunch of tough acts, but the one
welcome I would like to give is the one they cannot, and that is
from the tremendous student body that I am here representing.
And I think that we're the ones who really see the greatest benefit
from our new law center because that's the building we live in for
two and a half or three years, depending on how quickly we can go
through the process. And after being in the last law center for a
few years, personally, I'm very grateful for our new space. It is
really just fantastic. But I hope that we can all remember that in
the end it's just a building and it's really what it represents, I
think, that has brought us all here today and that's the
institution, the law school specifically. And it really has produced
some great legal minds and I'm proud to be a part of the
graduating class that will walk through those doors here in now
less than a month, which is really kind of scary. And on a personal
note, I was an undergraduate student here at the University of
Mississippi under Chancellor Khayat, and I don't know if you
know this, but we have something in common. We have two
homes, here in Oxford, Mississippi, and then in Jackson County,
so I'm proud to be able to make that association. But anyway,
thank you for coming. I hope after this you will all come see our
home and let us show you around. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Because of the inclement weather conditions, Dr. Hank
Bounds, commissioner of our Board of Trustees of State
Institutions of Higher Learning, could not be with us today. In his
place and stead, it is our pleasure to have Mr. Aubrey Patterson of
Tupelo, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of
Higher Learning. He was appointed to his post by Governor Haley
Barbour. A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Michigan
State University, and the University of Wisconsin, he is chairman
and chief executive officer of BancorpSouth. He is a great friend of
education and a wonderful friend of the University of Mississippi.
He is here today on behalf of the board to present this beautiful
new law center to the University of Mississippi. Please welcome
Mr. Aubrey Patterson.
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 1 5
Aubrey B. Patterson Jr.
Thank you, chancellor, for that kind introduction.
Commissioner Bounds does sincerely regret that he could not be
here, and I'm honored to be asked to serve in his stead to present
the building to the university. Thanks for allowing me to join you
and thanks to also allowing you to join my good friend Dr. Stacy
Davidson and his wife, they've already introduced, also serving
members of the board of trustees.
We're honoring the legacy of Dr. Robert Khayat and
celebrating the future of this great American public university of
which this law center will be an integral part.
Dr. Khayat is already recognized by all and without a doubt
one of the great education leaders of this country. And I'm honored
to consider him a personal role model — and most important — a
cherished friend. Since Senator Wicker has already broken the
mold and given me a little latitude, I'll digress to say that he's
also, besides being an acknowledged Renaissance man, a man of
great judgment, when he was Colonel Rebel as a senior, he judged
the university-high beauty contest and selected my wife as "most
beautiful." A man of rare good judgment.
There is no doubt that his leadership has enabled this
university to reach heights not dreamed possible before. And now
that we know what is possible, we're encouraged to dream even
bigger dreams. Knowing that they, like this law center, can come
true. His legacy reaches far beyond the numbers; increases in
enrollment, tremendous increases in endowment, and dramatic
expansion of programs and facilities. His legacy reaches far
beyond the monumental, though they are monumental
accomplishments, like securing a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for the
university, the Barksdale Honors College, the Croft International
Institute, the Lott Leadership Institute, and garnering national
recognition during the presidential debate. His legacy is yet to be
fully understood but I'd be remiss if I did not also note the huge
contribution his leadership has also brought to the IHL system
that we serve and to the state at large. To refer to him as first
among equals in that congregation of educators, understates the
importance of his contribution. Due to the atmosphere his
leadership created on campus and the opportunities for students
that were greatly expanded during his tenure, the tens of
1 6 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
thousands of students who matriculated here during that time
will look back on their time at Ole Miss with fondness and learn to
fully appreciate the role the university has played in their future
successes. As a result, they'll support the university with their
time and talents. They'll give back to the university and help it
continue to reach new heights in the years and decades to come.
Their support will ensure that future generations of Ole Miss
students have even greater experiences and opportunities than
they and we had.
The beautiful building we are talking about today, that we're
celebrating today, represents a wonderful opportunity for the
students of today and for years to come. The openness of design
reflects the limitless possibilities open to the students here. It was
designed not just to accommodate a certain number of students
and a certain number of faculty, it was designed with the
experiences and learning opportunities that students need in
mind. The space allocated for the centers and clinics demonstrates
that real thought was given to making attending law school at the
University of Mississippi top-notch preparation for anyone
planning to enter the legal field. Students can gain experience in
both criminal and civil law both on the prosecutorial side and the
defense side. Students can receive a law degree from here and feel
confident walking into any courtroom, boardroom, or other venue
of their choosing. Students who attend the Robert C. Khayat Law
Center are not just attending law school, they're attending a law
school that will provide them with life-changing experiences and
prepare them well to succeed. Again, thank you for asking me to
join you today to represent the commissioner. It's a wonderful day
for Ole Miss, its students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and on behalf
of the entire board of trustees I am delighted to be a part of it.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
On behalf of current and future students, faculty, and staff,
Mr. Patterson, I accept this beautiful facility for the University of
Mississippi. We applaud the state, federal, and private
partnership that made this glorious fifty million dollar building
2011] ROBERT C. KHA Y AT LAW CENTER 1 7
We pledge to be good stewards of your investment. It provides
a state-of-the-art learning, teaching, and research center for
students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Decade after decade, this center will enable strong legal
education and research. So it is with great honor and appreciation
that we acknowledge Chancellor Robert Khayat's many
contributions to this university and state by naming this facility
the Robert C. Khayat Law Center.
It is our hope that naming this center for Chancellor Khayat
will be a permanent acknowledgement of his contributions. We
wanted to make a very permanent, highly visible, and
inspirational statement about his extraordinary life and
transformational leadership for this university. And, we wanted to
acknowledge that it was that life, and his remarkable leadership,
that attracted the funding from many quarters for this exceptional
Now here to provide a tribute to Robert Khayat is his good
friend and a good friend of the university. Since publishing A Time
to Kill in 1988, John Grisham has written at least one novel a
year, and every one of them has been an international bestseller.
There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print
world-wide in twenty-nine languages. Nine of his novels have been
produced as movies, as was an original screenplay.
Who could have predicted that a young law student from
Jonesboro, Arkansas, who had trouble taking Robert Khayat's
essay tests, would become known as the "master of the legal
thriller" and one of publishing's greatest success stories?
John and his wife, Renee, have been great friends to this
university including its school of law. Programs that John and
Renee have funded not only bring outstanding writers like himself
to our campus each year, continue to free the wrongfully
imprisoned, and enable beautiful facilities including this law
center and the Grisham Library in the law center.
I have a deep appreciation for the way John and Renee have
used their influence. Both in selection of topics for novels, and in
the commitment of time and resources John and Renee make
together, they have made a fight against injustice a priority in
their lives. We're happy Renee is with us today. Renee and John
18 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
are the parents of two children, Ty and Shea. Both John and Ty
are graduates of our law school.
Please welcome the reigning master of the legal thriller, a
graduate of our school of law, a former student of Robert Khayat,
and a great friend of our university, John R. Grisham, Jr.
John R. Grisham Jr.
Thank you, chancellor, for that generous introduction. I'm
honored to be here today to say a few words about the law school
and about Robert Khayat.
Thirty years ago, Renee and I were married on a Friday
afternoon here in Oxford at the First Baptist Church. After a brief
honeymoon, we were back the following Thursday for my law
school graduation. The speaker that day was a retired judge, I
can't recall his name, I don't recall much of what he said, but the
theme of his remarks was that we were not really needed. The
profession was overcrowded, too many lawyers, too many law
schools. It seemed kind of an odd time and place to be dwelling on
such unpleasantries. But we had heard it all before, it didn't really
bother us; we had heard it for three years. We got our diplomas
and we got out of here. Class of '81 was so bright and so talented
we were exempted from taking the BAR exam.
When I left here thirty years ago, I did not plan to come back.
I could never see myself coming back to law school. The Class of
'81, as bright as we were, suffered a casualty rate in excess of fifty
percent. It was a boot camp. Then it became a prolonged battle of
survival and when we got out, we were done, we were gone. I could
never imagine seeing or being around people like Guff Abbott,
John Robin Bradley, and George Cochran, and Karen Greene, and
Parham Williams, Bob Weems, and they're still there. I didn't
dislike these people, but they worked for the law school and I was
through with the law school. I was through forever, or so I
In the fall of 1978, I walked into my first class in law school,
it was Contracts, the professor was John Robin Bradley. Twenty-
eight years later, my son walked into his first class in law school,
it was Contracts, and the professor was John Robin Bradley.
When Professor Bradley would nail a punch line, get a big laugh,
my son would send me an email. And a couple of times, as I
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 19
chuckled, I said "I think I've heard that before." But not all the
time, there was some new material. My career as a lawyer was
unremarkable and mercifully short. Nine years after we left
Oxford, we were back, Renee and I, with two kids and a new
profession. I was not suing people anymore, I was not practicing
law, something great had happened to us, we were going a
different direction, we kind of retired to Oxford to, you know, live
an easier life. We were building a house then, I needed a place to
write and for some reason I just gravitated back to the law school,
to the library, sort of the scene of the crime. Once I got past the
initial jolt, it brought back a lot of memories and as time goes by
we tend to forget the bad things and remember the good ones and
I kept the good memories and I actually enjoyed being up at the
law school, hiding in the stacked tiers where I used to study for
finals and for demanding professors, writing tales about lawyers
that were not true, but certainly marketable. I'd go out in the
hallway, look at the class photos and look at my class and the kids
under the law school and lawyers and judges I had met along the
way and even some of the law professors and I would see these
professors around town, in the law school, football games, in
restaurants around the Square. I was bumping into Guff Abbott,
John Robin Bradley, Uncle Tommy Ethridge, some of the old guys.
I liked them a whole lot more ten years later, after law school.
And they were all proud of me. I got especially close to Robert
In the fall of 1978 he was our Torts professor and our initial
impression of him was somewhat guarded. He smiled a lot, he was
very friendly, told jokes, and seemed genuinely concerned about
our struggles during that first awful semester. And upper
classmen could be heard saying things like, "Watch out. It's a
setup. He smiles a lot but he'll kill you on the final exam." We
were suspicious. We were suspicious. His final exam was
straightforward and when he gave us good grades, our opinion of
him went up tremendously. In law school certain classes bond
with certain professors, and our class certainly bonded with
Robert Khayat. During our second year he went off to Yale. He
and Margaret packed up the kids and went to Yale for a year for
reasons that were never made clear to us. I don't know what he
did there. He did tell us later that nobody ever went to class at
20 MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
Yale. Something significant happened though because when he
left here he was Mr. Khayat, and when he came back a year later
he was Dr. Khayat. He was here ten years later when we moved
back, we became friends, and started a friendship that is still
maturing. In 1993, the movie of The Firm was released and Renee
and I took off to New York to a real fancy black tie premier with
five thousand of our best friends that we had never met, and we
had not seen the movie, and it wasn't very good, but we were able
to kind of savor the moment. We came back to Oxford and said
let's do this the right way. Let's have a premier here, in Oxford, at
a real movie house, the Hoka. Capacity eighty-five, depending on
how many chairs are broken or stolen. We sent invitations out. On
the invitation the dress requirement read simply "socks optional."
Khayat loved that. He framed it and hung it in his office for years.
We invited a hundred friends, it was July, no air conditioning, it
was hot, we served Dom Perignon Champagne — a first for the
Hoka. We weren't sure if the projectors would work for two hours
nonstop, but miracles do happen. And I sat close to Robert and
Margaret and we had a premier far, far finer than the one in New
York. Two years later he was named chancellor and he asked me if
I would say a few words at his inauguration. It was more like a
coronation. Robes and pomp and ceremony and words in Latin,
stuff like that. I closed my remarks that day by saying, "When I
grow up, I want to be like Robert Khayat." And I'm still trying.
As chancellor, we spent even more time together, football
games and fundraisers, we went to Washington to see elected
officials. We had one memorable night when we honored Thad
Cochran, the whole Senate was there, half of Washington was
there. It was great night. It turned into a roast then it turned into
a scorch. It got real ugly. It was a great night. We hosted literary
functions, we hosted dinners for important people. Ole Miss was
changing. New buildings were going up, new programs were being
added, fundraising was setting a record, and the enrollment began
this remarkable climb. He was preaching the message that this is
a great public university, and people were listening. Robert
Khayat showed us that we should look at the past, confront it,
admit what was wrong, honor what was right, and then move on.
As a natural leader, he was far more excited about the future than
things that had happened in the past. He has great compassion for
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 21
this state and its people. We've had long conversations about
Mississippi and its problems; the lack of progress in so many areas
of education, the high rates of poverty, illiteracy, high school
dropout, teenage pregnancy, the cycle of poverty and drugs, and
crime and prison, and how so many of our children don't really
have a chance. As chancellor every year he saw hundreds of high
school kids would put their money together, dreaming of college
and fall short by a thousand bucks or five hundred bucks. He
tirelessly raised money for these kids.
He always worried about staying too long. All successful
leaders want to go out on top and he was no exception. We talked
about this too much. He called me one time — Ole Miss had won a
big football game — and he called me and said "I've got it all
figured out. I'm leaving when Eli leaves." I said, "No, that's too
soon, that's too soon." He said to me many times, he said, "You
gotta tell me when I gotta go. You gotta tell when it's time to step
down." And I never told him it was time to step down.
Late in his tenure we began talking about a new law school,
but we first had the discussion whether or not a new law school
was really needed. I suspect the old judge who spoke at my
commencement was probably right. Perhaps we don't need as
many corporate lawyers in tall buildings. Perhaps we don't need
as many small town practitioners stacked around the Square.
Maybe we don't need as many lawyers on government payrolls.
But in this country, and especially in this state, today, there is a
shortage of lawyers. In this country, today, at least half of our
people, half of the citizens of this country, do not have access to
civil justice. It's the battered wife who can't hire a lawyer for a
divorce or for protection; it's the family living in a motel room
because some shady bank cut corners on the foreclosure; it's the
veteran denied benefits; it's the homeless child denied admission
to a local school; it's the migrant worker being paid far less than
minimum wage; it's the desperate family of a schizophrenic in
need of a facility; it's the honest, hard-working, middle-class
couple who cannot afford a lawyer to take on their insurance
company. It's a long, sad list. And when you tally it all up, it
covers half of us. Last year, the Gates Foundation released its The
Rule of the Law Report. They looked at all wealthy, advanced
nations and their population's access to civil justice. The U.S. was
22 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
dead last. In Mississippi, right now, in Parchman, in the regional
prisons, there are hundreds, if not thousands of innocent people
locked up. Victims of a criminal justice system that is broken.
They spend their days behind chain link fence, and razor wire,
serving somebody else's time, and they have no lawyers. There is
no one actively on the outside trying to get them out. There is no
one fighting the injustice. I don't speak for this administration, I
don't speak for Robert Khayat, but I hope this law school trains
young lawyers, who firmly believe that a license to practice law is
a powerful tool best used when defending the poor, and the weak,
and the falsely accused. I don't speak for Robert Khayat, but I
know him, I know he wants this law school, now so fittingly
named for him, and on this campus that he cherishes, to become a
driving force for social change in Mississippi. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Now, please welcome to the podium, the namesake for our
new law center, Chancellor Robert C. Khayat.
Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat
To Chancellor Jones and his staff, my family and I thank you
for what you all have done to make this day as memorable as any
in our lives- — as any will ever be.
To our distinguished group on the stage — we thank you for
your generous comments, your humorous comments. Some of the
things that you said that were close to being accurate and then
some things, like Senator Wicker, that were totally accurate.
And to all of you who are here today for this event where we
honor Ole Miss. Now, the Khayats are part of this and we are
totally overwhelmed by it. I don't have the capability of expressing
the gratitude that we feel to the university and to the people of
Ole Miss for your kindness to us through the years. Margaret
Khayat and I, our children Margaret and Robert Jr., have always
felt loved and nurtured, embraced, and protected by the
University of Mississippi. Even when the person from Missoula,
Montana wrote me and told me that he was going to kill me for
destroying the culture of the South by banning sticks from the
football stadium at Ole Miss. We knew he loved us in spite of that.
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 23
John and Renee Grisham have been kind to Margaret and me
since our first meeting. Today, we thank John for the generous
introduction, and for the thoughtful introduction regarding the
role of law, and we thank the Grisham family for enabling us — us
being the university — to build this wonderful law center.
Fifty-five years ago, June 2, 1956, my brother Eddie, who is
here, drove me from our home in Moss Point to Oxford on a
Saturday, dropped me at Garland Dormitory, and said, "Stay off
the road to Memphis." And I heard him. I listened.
I was anxious. I was uncertain. I was lonely. I was homesick,
and I began to try to grasp life at Ole Miss.
Those of us who were here in those years, those wonderful
idyllic years between World War II and some of the events that
happened later — that were difficult for all of us — were taught and
inspired by gifted faculty, who expected and demanded our best in
their classrooms. That experience in the classrooms with the
faculty was enriched and expanded by participation in student
life — in my case in athletics — and by establishing relationships
and friendships with students, staff, and faculty that have lasted
a lifetime. Seeds of affection and respect were planted lovingly and
nurtured by the staff who looked after us — the people who helped
us register for classes, take the courses we needed, or counseled us
in so many ways.
I might tell you that one of my counseling responsibilities
early in my chancellorship came from a young man named John
Joseph from Montgomery, who later became president of the
student body and a Truman scholar, who came in to see me.
We sat on the sofa and I said, "What can I do for you John?"
He said, "I have a question."
"Let's hear it."
"What do you do with girls?"
I said, "What did you say John?"
He said, "What do you do with girls?"
I said, "What do you mean 'what do you do with girls?"'
He said, "Well I've never been with a girl. What do I do? Do I
hold hands? Or do I put my arm around her? Or what do I do?"
I thought I knew that I was called to intellectual challenges
as leader of a university of this quality. I just told John to depend
on the young women to help him along and that things would
24 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
work out. And they did. He is happily married. He and his wife
have a daughter named Anna. He is successful. They live in
Montgomery and like so many other Ole Miss students, including
many of you, John stays in touch with us — people in our office.
The people who counseled us, and helped us, really were our
fathers and mothers at Ole Miss. There were also those who
provided food, housing, health care, and general support. We often
joked that if we could bathe, dress, and feed ourselves, the faculty
and staff would take care of all our other needs. That's all we had
to do. Bathing was sometimes a challenge. In truth, these people
enabled us to enjoy our college experience to the fullest, and they
sparked an affection for Ole Miss that could not be diminished.
My friend, classmate, and the leader of our football teams —
Charlie Flowers — has labeled our years at Ole Miss as "Camelot."
Our friendships and our affection for the school have been
enriched through the years, and many of you in this audience
have helped the university, have helped this chancellor and other
chancellors — including the current chancellor — and you've helped
our family. The University of Mississippi and the Khayats are
As I thought about appropriate remarks for this dedication, I
realized I could not limit my comments to the law school. That's
because the beautiful law school building, the grounds, and the
important teaching and learning that will take place in that
building represent the mission, the personality, and the character
of our entire university.
We began the journey in 1848; the Lyceum doors first opened.
Six years later, we became the fourth public law school in
America. For 154 years, thousands of lawyers and leaders have
been educated and trained in our law school. Most of those
graduates have made remarkable contributions to our society at
the local level as stalwarts in their communities, as leaders in
government, and in their personal lives.
You look across this stage, and you see lawyers. Not everyone
up here is a lawyer, but people who are in government, in top
leadership positions, a minister, an educator or two. People who
care very deeply about our country, about this university, and
about the role of law. We have among us America's foremost
writer. There are people in all walks of life who hold law degrees
20 1 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 25
from our law school who have made a difference, and that includes
my previously mentioned friend Charlie Flowers.
When you visit the building you are going to see it's beautiful,
it is functional, it is state-of-the-art, and it was built by Yates
Construction Company. Bill Yates, who took a small company in
Philadelphia, Mississippi and developed it into one of the great
construction companies in America, is a graduate of the Ole Miss
I think the new building is tangible proof of the commitment
our university has made to teaching, to learning, and to function
and to beauty, and to leadership. Jim Eley was our architect. He
and his team used the latest design techniques and they created
plans for a distinguished structure that will operate efficiently. It
will serve the needs of our faculty and staff, and students, and our
visitors who come to our campus. You will find the building to be
not only stunning, but an extremely well-built, modern law
In addition to meeting the traditional expectations of a
building, this law building provides an attractive and stunning
welcome to our campus. The beauty of the Ole Miss campus is one
of our strengths. The years that all of us have loved and nurtured
this place we have seen it become more beautiful — to reach a point
where it makes a strong impact on people who come to see us just
by what they see on the campus and of course that is reinforced by
the warmth they feel from the people.
Law Professor and Provost Carolyn Staton initiated this
project. She felt we needed a new law building and she knew we
needed more classrooms — our enrollment had increased
dramatically. She was relentless in pursuit of both building a new
law building and having additional classrooms. She pushed and
she prodded a lot of people to help, and she did not rest until the
decision was made that we would build a state-of-the-art,
wonderful law school building. Carolyn Staton, our provost and
the person who really had the original idea for this building,
please stand and allow us to recognize you.
During my years as chancellor, probably because of my life on
teams, we operated as a team. As you know, many people are
involved in planning and constructing a fifty million dollar law
center. We sought support from the legislature, and thankfully we
26 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
received a positive response. We sought assistance from the
federal government, and thankfully again we received support.
But the bulk of the funding for this facility, as is the case with
most Ole Miss buildings, had to come from the private sector.
More than 600 donors participated in a law school campaign,
thus far contributing more than thirty-seven million dollars to the
total cost of the facility. I believe that Dr. Jones this week was
able to reach agreement with another donor at a major level that
will probably help us finish out the amount that we need to have
all the funds needed to pay for the building.
We had, as we always do at Ole Miss, a group of volunteers
who led the way for us. One of the chairs of that committee was
Bill Goodman and I know he is here, and Crymes Pittman was a
chair, and I don't know if Crymes is here or not. Bill Goodman and
Crymes Pittman will you please stand.
They and the members of the committee led the way. They
had the strong guidance of a member of our management team. I
am going to ask several members of our management team to
stand and be recognized as a group. During my years as chancellor
we tried to divide up responsibility and let different members of
the team lead. In this particular case we were going to build a law
building. Although everybody was committed to it, there were
several people who had specific responsibilities. One was Gloria
Kellum, she led the development area. Then Larry Sparks, who is
our chief financial officer, had to find a way to manage the
resources that we had, to be able to move forward with the project,
utilize state funds, federal funds, and private support, and self-
generated funds. Andy Mullins who worked closely with the
legislature to see that that legislation was passed. Ian Banner, our
university director of campus facilities and planning worked
closely with the architects and the builders. And Jeff McManus,
our incredibly gifted director of landscape services, are the people
from our staff who worked most closely with the development of
the law building. I would ask you to please express your
appreciation to them because they deserve it.
From the moment the dream of this new law center was born
and began, the words of Isaiah 40: 30-31 were in my mind and in
my heart and constantly in front of me. And they are familiar
words, and I suspect that you will recognize them. I saw them as
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LA W CENTER 27
being applicable not only to the law school project but to our
university, to our state, and to our nation. The familiar words
from Isaiah: "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the
young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like
Eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and
Again and again and again we have watched the people of
Ole Miss rise like eagles to accomplish the impossible. Our
people — our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends — never
weary of their efforts to make this university better, and they
never faint when Ole Miss calls. It is this spirit that has enriched
our lives in countless ways.
I thank you, the people of Ole Miss, first for the opportunity
of having spent a lifetime here, including serving as chancellor,
and for the rich and rewarding life that you have given to me and
to my family. But more than that I thank you for your devotion to
this university, for your spirit, and for your friendship. Thank you.
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones
Thank you, chancellor. In a moment I will ask you to stand
again and join in the singing of our Alma Mater, which will be led
by Miss Briana Logan Raif, a second-year law student and Ole
Miss Bachelor of Music and Vocal Performance graduate. You will
find the words of the Alma Mater in your program. I will ask you
to remain standing for our benediction, which will be delivered by
Dr. Morris Stocks — our provost, vice chancellor for academic
affairs, and professor of Accountancy. Following the benediction, I
will ask that you please join us over in the Robert C. Khayat Law
Center's lobby for a reception and open house.
Provost Morris H. Stocks
Please join with me in prayer. Most gracious Heavenly
Father, we come to you this afternoon with grateful hearts. Hearts
full of thanksgiving for your grace, for your love, for your
immeasurable blessings. We thank you for those who are gathered
to share in this wonderful occasion. We thank you Father for the
dedicated men and women who have worked to make our
28 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
magnificent law center a reality. From the inspiration of our gifted
leaders, to those who organized and planned, to alumni and
friends who gave freely of their time and resources, to those who
labored to raise the beautiful structure. May they have a sense of
delight in their accomplishment and recognize that lives have
been changed forever because of their investment.
We thank you, Father, for Chancellor Robert Khayat, for the
influence he's had on each of us. We thank you for his leadership,
his vision, and his life committed to self-less service. We thank
you for the tremendous impact that he has had on our university
and our state. We pray that your anointing will rest upon him and
his family. We give thanks for the faculty, staff, and leadership of
the school of law. We ask that you guide the faculty, help them to
impart knowledge, encourage them to inspire, and to bring truth
and understanding to those they teach. We pray for guidance for
the leadership of the school of law as they work to serve mankind
and make life better for all. We pray that the Robert C. Khayat
Law Center will be a thriving spirited home of inspired discovery
and sound learning. Guide our students as they embark on the
exciting path before them. Give them wisdom, vision, and courage.
We celebrate the dedication of the Robert C. Khayat Law Center.
Bless all who grace her halls, grant a spirit of community and an
atmosphere of hope for all who are a part of this special place. We
ask all this in your holy name. Amen.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 29
*Chancellor Jones, Chancellor Emeritus Khayat, and John Grisham enjoy the
*Chancellor Emeritus Khayat addresses the audience at the dedication ceremony
MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
*On Monday, October 2, 1854, the Lyceum building hosted William Forbes Stearns'
first class meeting of the department of law at the University of Mississippi
''Ventress Hall housed the school of law from 1911 to 1930
ROBERT C. KH AY AT LAW CENTER
■Tim — —-;., ...niia— im^^— MM— i
*From 1930 to 1978, Lamar Hall served as the home of the school of law. Renamed
Farley Hall, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is now located in this
*In the summer of 1978, the school of law moved into the newly constructed Lamar
Law Center, where it remained until 2011
MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
*The formal plans for the building that would become the Robert C. Khayat Law
Center were completed on February 29, 2008
*In January 2011, classes began in the state-of-the-art Robert C. Khayat Law Center
ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER
EILi mu / &* 4
* Following the dedication ceremony, alumni and friends gathered in the new law
center for a reception
* Chancellor Emeritus Khayat enjoys the reception in
the atrium of the Robert C. Khayat Law Center
34 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 35
TRIBUTES TO CHANCELLOR EMERITUS
ROBERT C. KHAYAT
Dean I. Richard Gershon*
April 15, 2011, was a historic day for the law school, the
university, and the State of Mississippi. Alumni, faculty, students,
and friends of the law school from throughout the country
gathered in Oxford, MS to celebrate the dedication of the law
school's new building to one of our most distinguished graduates:
Robert C. Khayat. Despite the threat of inclement weather, the
day's events were a success. The ceremony was moved from the
grounds of the new law center to the Gertrude C. Ford Performing
Arts Center. There, a group of distinguished alumni, including
John Grisham, honored Robert Khayat's service to the university
and challenged current and future students to live up to the noble
profession to which they have been called. Following the
ceremony, guests attended a reception in the new law center,
where student leaders led them on tours of the building. Visitors
could not help but be impressed by its magnificence and beauty.
Indeed, those of us who are fortunate to work and learn in this
building appreciate the generous support of the donors who made
this vision a reality. We are proud to call this new building home.
This state-of-the-art, LEED certified building will help us
enhance the strong reputation of our law school. It has already
hosted the United States Environmental Justice and the Law
Symposium, sponsored by the American Bar Association, and we
are confident that it will attract many programs of national and
even global importance. The Robert C. Khayat Law Center will
* Dean and professor of law, University of Mississippi. Prior to joining the
University of Mississippi School of Law, Dean Gershon served as the founding dean of
the Charleston School of Law and the dean of Texas Wesleyan University School of
Law in Fort Worth, Texas. Dean Gershon was also on the faculty at Stetson University
School of Law from 1984 to 1998. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia (B.A.
1979), the University of Tennessee (J.D. 1982), and the University of Florida (LL.M.
Taxation 1983). He is the author of several books and articles on taxation and legal
education. Dean Gershon serves on the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, The
Mississippi Bar Professionalism Committee, and the Boys and Girls Clubs Advisory
36 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
provide the law school with the technological capability to allow
our students here in Oxford to connect with judges and lawyers
everywhere in our state and region. It will also provide the law
school the possibility to create advanced degree programs reaching
students in all parts of the world through distance learning. In
fact, in the short time that we have been in the new building, we
have already taken substantial steps forward. The law school
faculty has recently approved an innovative new skills program
that will enhance the way our students are prepared for entry into
the legal profession, and it has also voted to take the initial steps
in creating a new LL.M. program.
We recognize, however, that as impressive as this building is,
and as many opportunities as it will provide our students, it alone
does not make this law school great. It is the people, and the
programs they create, that define its character. This is one of the
many lessons we can learn from Chancellor Emeritus Robert
Khayat, who above all, invested in the University of Mississippi
family. This new building, along with Chancellor Khayat's
example, challenges each of us — alumni, faculty, staff, and
students — to devote new energy to carry the law school to new
heights. And we will rise to that challenge. We will continue to
devote our time and resource to our students, providing them with
an outstanding professional education and training them to be
ethical lawyers who understand the importance of service to their
local communities. We will continue to have an ever growing
impact on the legal profession and legal education both in our
state and beyond. If our efforts match the excellence of our new
building and even approximate the devotion of the man whose
name it bears, then there is no doubt we will accomplish that goal.
It is a great time to be a part of the University of Mississippi
School of Law. Our future is very bright.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 37
Governor William F. Winter*
On the historic and hauntingly beautiful campus of Ole Miss,
we are reminded on every hand of a legion of extraordinary men
and women who have played a visionary and defining role in the
sustaining of the university over more than 160 years. Through
good times and bad, through wars and depressions, through civil
and political strife, they have provided the faith and stability to
overcome the nay-sayers and the mindless critics of progress that
seem to be a part of every generation.
We see the names of these heroes gracing many of the
imposing buildings that give an aura of strength and permanence
to this historic school. It is obviously impossible in this space to
note all of the names that appear on those buildings — names like
Barnard and Lamar, 1 Fulton and Bondurant, 2 Hume and
* William F. Winter is a shareholder at the Jackson-based firm, Watkins Ludlam
Winter & Stennis, P. A. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Winter served the State of
Mississippi as Governor (1980-1984), Lt. Governor (1972-1976), Mississippi State
Treasurer (1964-1968). Mississippi State Tax Collector (1956-1964), and
Representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives (1948-1956). Recognized by
President Bill Clinton as "a great champion of civil rights," William Winter's
gubernatorial tenure is most well-known for its leadership in encouraging equal
opportunities in publicly-funded primary education regardless of race or class.
Born in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1923, William Winter served in the armed forces in
both World War II and the Korean War. He received a B.A. from the University of
Mississippi in 1943 and an LL.B. in 1949. While in law school, Mr. Winter served as
the Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal.
In addition to a distinguished political career, Mr. Winter has received numerous
professional honors, distinctions, and honorary degrees. President Clinton appointed
Mr. Winter to the National Advisory Board on Race Relations in June 1997. He is also
the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and a fellow of the
Mississippi Bar Association.
In 1999, Mr. Winter helped found the William Winter Institute for Racial
Reconciliation, whose mission is to build more inclusive communities by promoting
diversity and citizenship, and by supporting projects that help communities solve local
1 Frederick A.P. Barnard was the university's first chancellor from 1856 to 1861.
The Center for the Study of Southern Culture is housed in Barnard Observatory.
L.Q.C. Lamar was a university faculty member and director of the Law Department
until 1870, the year Mississippi was readmitted into the Union. In 1888, Lamar was
appointed to the United States Supreme Court, the only Mississippian to date to hold
that distinction. The law school resided in Lamar Hall prior to its new home in the
Robert C. Khayat Law Center.
2 Robert B. Fulton served as chancellor from 1892 to 1906 and is credited with
establishing the school of engineering, school of education, and school of medicine.
38 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
Farley 3 — to reference only a few. They laid the foundation for the
university's present-day eminence.
Now we add another name to that pantheon of heroes, as we
dedicate the magnificent building, which bears the name of one of
its most illustrious graduates — Robert C. Khayat.
It is fitting that this building should be named for him.
Distinguished alumnus, outstanding teacher and administrator
for many years, nationally heralded chancellor, Robert Khayat
lends stature and prestige to the University of Mississippi. No one
in its long history has been more meaningfully involved in the
affairs of the university in so many transforming ways.
From his school years at Moss Point High School, where he
was a student-leader and stellar athlete, Robert showed the
special qualities that foreshadowed his later achievements. It was
not just by random chance that he had those successes. He owes
much to his wise and loving parents, Eddie and Eva Khayat, who
infused him with the values and sense of purpose that set him
apart. Their entire family, including a brother and two sisters,
reinforced and encouraged each other.
Robert learned what it was to compete academically and
athletically not just in high school but at Ole Miss where he
starred in both football and baseball and earned Hall of Fame
honors as a student. He was a standout member of the fabled 1959
football team, arguably the best in school history. He was selected
to the National Football League Pro-Bowl Team during his tenure
Not content with his achievements as a premier professional
athlete and all of the public acclaim that accompanies such a
career, he began to respond to the calling of the profession that
During Fulton's tenure, football was introduced to the school as was the school's first
printed annual, The Ole Miss.
Alexander Lee Bondurant was the first dean of the graduate school from 1927 to 1936
as well as acting chancellor in 1921. Bondurant also established and coached the first
football team in 1893.
3 Alfred Hume served two terms as chancellor from 1924 to 1930, and then from
1932 to 1935. Hume is credited with preventing Governor Theodore G. Bilbo from
moving the university to Jackson.
Robert J. Farley served as dean of the law school from 1947 to 1963 and president of
the Mississippi Bar from 1954 to 1955. Before moving to Lamar Hall, the law school
resided in Farley Hall.
20 1 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 39
was his first love and his life-long passion. While still playing pro
football with the Washington Redskins, he enrolled in the Ole
Miss School of Law. Upon graduation he began a thriving career
as a lawyer in his home county for several years, but then Ole
Miss beckoned to him again — this time as a member of its faculty.
It was a fortuitous coming together — the confluence of a proud
alumnus with his beloved alma mater and a successful lawyer
with the dedicated teacher of the law.
Here he became an exemplary model for his students,
teaching them far more than the complex intricacies of the law, as
he shared with them the practical wisdom that came from his own
fascinating life experiences. At a time when Mississippi was
emerging from its self-imposed social and cultural isolation,
Robert Khayat, with a vision of a more open and less insular
society, played a major role in the enlightenment of an entire
generation of young law students. He helped develop in them an
enhanced appreciation for the majesty of the law and their duty as
lawyers to defend our legal and political system against the
mindless critics who would profane and diminish it.
As his former students began to fill positions of leadership in
the profession and in political and civic affairs, his unique
influence started to be felt across the state in the emergence of a
more progressive atmosphere that challenged some of the old
provincial shibboleths based on race and gender. While there were
many other enlightened members of our profession who helped
drive this change, the strong and respected voice of Robert Khayat
was a particularly effective force.
Because he had emerged in a non-confrontational way as an
influential advocate for sensible and progressive ideas, he became
the obvious choice to lead the university when Chancellor Gerald
Turner resigned to become the president of Southern Methodist
University in 1994. 4 Robert Khayat was unanimously elected
chancellor by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State
Institutions of Higher Learning.
By any measure, it will be recorded that in the fifteen years
under his dynamic leadership Ole Miss progressed more
4 Robert Gerald Turner was the second youngest chancellor in the university's
history, serving from 1984 to 1995. During Turner's tenure, the university's
endowment grew from $8 million to $64 million.
40 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
dramatically than in any comparable period in its history. That
progress includes growth in the number and quality of its students
and faculty; in its financial support and endowment; in its
incredibly lovely pristine campus; in the buildings, laboratories,
and library; in the art, music, and athletic facilities; in its greatly
expanded areas of service to the state and nation; and most
impressively, in its national standing and prestige.
When Robert became chancellor, he set as his goal the
achieving for Ole Miss national recognition as one of America's
great public universities. There are many unbiased observers who
feel that he achieved that objective. What is universally agreed on
is that Dr. Khayat, in his distinguished tenure as chancellor, set a
standard for leadership that stamps him as one of Mississippi's
all-time greatest transformational figures.
In his preface to Dr. Allen Cabaniss's 1948 Centennial
History of the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss alumnus Dr.
Peter Kyle McCarter, professor of English and dean of the
university, wrote these words:
Following tradition and sentiment, which all of us love if we
are worthy of our humanity, we sing and speak of Alma
Mater. And what is "Ole Miss" but Alma Mater rendered into
our more congenial Southern speech? Yet could there not be
another symbolic figure for a great institution of learning and
public service, the figure of a man in his prime years, a man
with the deep brow of a scholar, the keen eye of the observer
and seeker, the strong body that bespeaks the life of action,
the capability of endurance, and the power to fight, if need be;
a man who, let us say, has learned to live, as great men do
live, by faith and reason reconciled; and one who can never be
content with his own horizons or complacent about his own
limitations? And may not such a figure symbolize, God
willing, the University of Mississippi?
Do not those words also describe Chancellor Emeritus Robert
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 4 1
Dr. Daniel P. Jordan*
In the halcyon days of the 1950s at Ole Miss, Vardaman
Dormitory was home to a special group of scholarship athletes.
Vardaman A was reserved for the freshmen football squad and
Vardaman B for the baseball and basketball teams. Meanwhile,
the varsity football players lived in palatial luxury in Garland.
The upperclassmen went to great lengths to provide a warm
welcome for the rookies. "Freshmen Meetings" were less about
academic subjects than giving the varsity of all sports a chance to
improve their baseball swings while toughening up the posteriors
of the frosh for the competition ahead.
In September 1956, Robert Khayat of 520 Beardslee Street in
Moss Point, and myself of 1 Shady Lane, Philadelphia, arrived at
Vardaman. Robert was destined to be a star in both football and
baseball. I learned to look at life very philosophically as a subpar
athlete in basketball and baseball. We also shared a common faith
as well as membership in the famous "Freshmen Class" at the
University Methodist Church. Our iconic teacher and mentor was
Dean Emeritus of Men Malcolm Guess, 5 and his sophomore
assistant was Mary Ann Mobley, 6 a future Miss America.
* Dr. Jordan was a scholarship letterman in basketball and baseball, served as
student body president, and has been elected to both the student and alumni Halls of
Fame at Ole Miss. He holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of
Virginia where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was later a scholar in residence.
From 1985 to 2008, he served as president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
(Monticello). Lou Jordan is a former Miss Ole Miss. The Jordans have three children,
now all adults, including the Honorable Daniel P. Jordan III, an Ole Miss graduate
with distinction and a federal district judge with chambers in Jackson, Mississippi. For
assistance with this essay, Dr. Jordan wishes to thank Lou Jordan, Warner and Kay
Alford, and Sue Keiser.
5 R. Malcolm Guess attended the University of Mississippi as a student from 1908
to 1913. In 1922, Guess was hired by the university to serve as general secretary of the
YMCA. He was later appointed dean of men in addition to serving as YMCA secretary
in 1933. Dean Guess ended his role as secretary in 1947 to serve as dean of men full-
time. Guess retired from his position with the university in 1955. Finding Aid for the
R. Malcolm Guess Collection, UNIV. OF MISS. LIBRARIES: ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL
COLLECTIONS (last visited Aug. 1, 2011), http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/
6 Mary Ann Mobley Collins graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1958.
Also in 1958, Ms. Mobley was crowned Miss Mississippi followed by her Miss America
win in 1959. Ms. Mobley went on to star in two films with Elvis Presley in 1965 and
countless other films and television appearances throughout her forty-year long career.
Ms. Mobley has been married to actor Gary Collins since 1967 and the couple has one
42 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
Attendance was excellent. Over time, Robert and I also developed
a keen interest in the Chi Omega Sorority. Fortune smiled there
in leading us to our wives of now almost fifty years, Margaret
Denton (now Khayat) and Lou Schmelzer (now Jordan). 7
Robert and I majored in history and came under the spell of
such marvelous professors as John Hebron Moore, 8 and his wife
Margaret, and the controversial and courageous James W. Silver. 9
In our spare time, we marched as "ground pounders" in the Army
R.O.T.C. Along the way I came to know Robert extremely well and
to admire him enormously. Our friendship would be close and
lifelong. And I was far from alone because Robert's capacity for
friendship was — and is — limitless.
It was a fabulous time to be at Ole Miss. Robert and others
have called it a Rebel Camelot. And why not? — the Korean War
had ended in an armistice, and the Vietnam War hadn't begun.
Also ahead were the turbulent 1960s and 70s which rocked
America with terrible assassinations, violent protests, and
national discord. In our comfortable and lovely cocoon in Oxford,
Ole Miss seemed invincible and the place to be. The football team
won two national championships (among other distinctions), and
the baseball team, our junior and senior years, captured the SEC
title only to be denied by state segregation policies two trips to
Omaha for the College World Series. We also reveled in back-to-
adult daughter. See THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF MARY ANN MOBLEY: BIOGRAPHY,
www.maryannmobley.net/?page_id=32 (last visited Aug. 1, 2011); Miss America crowns
University Libraries a top priority, 2 THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI J.D. WILLIAMS
Library: Keywords n (Spring 2008).
7 To extend the story, Robert's roommate was Warner Alford, who married Coach
Swayze's daughter Kay, an Ole Miss beauty and brain and Lou's big sister in the
8 A native Mississippian, John Hebron Moore and his wife Margaret Deschamps
Moore both served as history professors at the University of Mississippi. John Moore
wrote multiple books analyzing the South, particularly agriculture in Mississippi. John
Moore retired from the history department at Florida State University in 1993. New
Books for Spring / Summer 2010, THE UNIV. OF S.C. PRESS 21 (2010),
9 James Wesley Silver was an American History professor at the University of
Mississippi from 1936 to 1964. Silver later taught at Notre Dame University and the
University of South Florida before retiring in 1982. Alan Krebs, James W. Silver, 81, a
Professor Who Fought for Racial Equality, N.Y. TIMES (July 26, 1988), at B7.
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 43
back Miss Americas, 10 several Rhodes Scholars, 11 a stunningly
beautiful campus (especially in the spring), and the general belief
that we were hot stuff and destined for big things. It's fair to say
we were self-confident if not cocky. Of course, we were largely
oblivious to the terrible realities of racism and Mississippi's
widespread poverty. That illusion was shattered in the fall of 1962
and the turmoil around the arrival of James Meredith. It is my
belief that Robert's inspired and enlightened leadership as
chancellor moved Ole Miss beyond its ugly past in race relations
into a bright new era of robust diversity and progress. He also
restored a previous joy, optimism, and self-esteem among the
student body, faculty, alumni, and friends of the university.
Robert transformed all aspects of the school — but his lasting
contribution might be intangible in the re-establishment of the
true Ole Miss spirit based on more substantive pride than beauty
contests and brawn.
Athletics had a powerful influence on Robert, an influence
that would later help him become the greatest chancellor in the
history of the University of Mississippi. This argument can be
overstated, but consider the positions he played. In football, he set
records as a place kicker — a solitary role in the spotlight when, at
times, the game was on the line. 12 He also played in the middle of
the line — an excellent school of humility (and who is more modest
and self-effacing than Robert?) where one's manhood, wile, and
tenacity were routinely tested. In baseball, he earned accolades as
a catcher — the quarterback of the team. And speaking of teams, in
both sports Robert exemplified the attributes of a successful
athlete. He was self-sacrificing; he had passion for the game; he
understood the necessity of determination, loyalty, careful
planning, and playing smart, as well as hard; and he had the sine
10 Mary Ann Mob ley's win in 1959 was followed by Lynda Lee Mead (now Shea)
earning the Miss America title in 1960. Both were members of the Chi Omega Sorority
while attending Ole Miss. People, TIME MAGAZINE (Sept. 21, 1959), at 49.
11 Twenty-five students from the University of Mississippi have earned the Rhodes
Scholarship. HISTORY: THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, http://www.olemiss.edu/info/
history.html (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
12 Khayat led the nation in scoring by a kicker in both 1958 and 1959. To date, he
is the only player in Ole Miss history to achieve that feat in consecutive seasons.
Barbara Lago, Chancellor Announces Retirement Plans, OLE MISS SPORTS (last visited
Aug. 1, 2011), http://www.olemisssports.com/genrel/010609aaa.html.
44 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
qua non of being a leader. He also lived by the Bear Bryant rule:
"If we win, they did it. If we tie, we did it. If we lose, I did it."
Robert is without equal in deflecting, to others, credit which
rightly should be given to Robert himself.
Robert has acknowledged his debt to the talented staff of the
football team. I also know of his immense admiration for Coach
Thomas King Swayze, Ole Miss's chief recruiter and legendary
coach of the baseball team. 13 Coach Swayze was a ferocious
competitor who had mastered the game of baseball. Perhaps more
importantly, he had an eye for talent, knew how to build a team,
made the game fun, and was unparalleled as a motivator. 14 It's no
accident — in my view — that this profile sounds like Chancellor
Khayat. I have often said, before audiences at Ole Miss and
elsewhere, that the most important lessons I know about
management, I learned from Coach Swayze. I'm sure Robert
People are rightly captivated by Robert's personality which is
warm, transparent, upbeat, and considerate. His intellectual
capacity is shown in his being an Academic All-American as well
as his finishing third in his class in law school, and his having
earned a masters of law from Yale. Perhaps more important is
Robert's emotional IQ. One cannot find a more empathic
individual or one who is more kind and caring or who has a
greater gift of friendship more deeply rooted in sincerity and
understanding. All of the above was clear on the baseball
Let me attempt to summarize a lot in one vignette. In our
sophomore year, the baseball team was young and finding its way.
Late in the season, we had a critical home series against our arch-
rival, Alabama. The score was tied when I entered the game under
daunting circumstances as a relief pitcher. I survived the jam,
13 Coach Thomas K. (Tom) Swayze was a three-year letterman in football and a
four-year letterman in baseball as a student-athlete at the University of Mississippi
before coaching the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team from 1951 to 1971. During his
tenure Coach Swayze amassed a record of 361-201-2 which includes three appearances
in the College World Series. See Ole Miss Legend Tom Swayze Passes Away at 93, OLE
MISS SPORTS (Feb. 1, 2003), http://www.olemisssports.com/sports/m-basebl/
14 Coach Tom Swayze is commonly referred to as the first recruiting coordinator in
the South. Id.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 45
pitched several hitless innings, and got the win. Robert, as our
catcher, inspired confidence by making the right calls and always
providing a big target. In the locker room afterwards, Robert came
over, said "here's a souvenir for you," and tossed me the game ball.
My office has always been devoid of vanity space, but it has also
had, on a shelf, a solitary now-yellowed baseball on which is
written: "Ole Miss 6, Alabama 5." Robert Khayat has enriched the
lives of countless individuals with his quiet and thoughtful acts of
All who were student-athletes with Robert knew that he was
destined for greatness. None of us was surprised in the least at his
transcendent success as chancellor. We will always be deeply
grateful for his unparalleled contributions to our alma mater and
to our state and nation — and especially for his loyal and generous
friendship across the years.
46 MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 47
It is a great honor to write a few words about my old
teammate and dear friend of fifty years. I find it impossible to
write about him without the use of superlatives. I do not apologize
for this for the simple reason that Robert happens to be the finest
person I have ever known. Robert came to Ole Miss with the
freshman class of 1956 — possibly the greatest class both
athletically as well as academically in the history of the
university. In addition to their remarkable success on the football
field, 15 Robert's class went on to produce several pro-football
players, several lawyers and doctors, an Ole Miss athletic director,
an Ole Miss head baseball coach, and a number of college coaches
and high school educators. Also in that freshman class was
Robert's great friend Warner Alford. 16 Little did they know at the
time that they would spend the greater part of their lives working
to make Ole Miss a better place. They have certainly succeeded in
One of the first things I noticed about Robert when he arrived
on campus was how, through no apparent effort on his part,
everyone simply gravitated to him, especially the football players.
And believe me, considering the different individuals on that team
* Charlie Flowers is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and served as
the captain of the 1959 National Champion Ole Miss football team. Originally from
Marianna, Arkansas, Flowers started at fullback from 1957 to 1959 and earned All-
America honors both athletically and academically during that time. Following his
tenure at Ole Miss, Flowers went on to play in the NFL for franchises in Los Angeles,
San Diego, and New York. Flowers has been inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall
of Fame and the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame, is a member of the Ole Miss Team of
the Century, and is still the record holder of the highest rushing average per play in a
season with 7.4 yards. COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME,
http://www.collegefootball.org/famer_selected.php?id=50101 (last visited Aug. 1, 2011);
Ole Miss Histories and Records, CBS SPORTS COLLEGE NETWORK,
visited Aug. 1, 2011).
15 From 1956 to 1959, the Ole Miss Rebels football team amassed a record of 35-7-
1. Ole Miss Histories and Records, CBS SPORTS COLLEGE NETWORK.
visited Aug. 1, 2011).
i6 Warner Alford served as Ole Miss athletic director from 1978 to 1994, and later
held the position of executive director of the University of Mississippi Alumni
Association. OLE MISS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, http://olemissalumni.com/news/default.
aspx?page_id=330 Qast visited Aug. 1, 2011).
48 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 8 1 : 1
that was no small feat. Even then Robert displayed the defining
characteristic that no doubt made him so admired — to put it
simply — it was impossible not to want him as your friend. This
characteristic was on display when he was asked to run for
Colonel Rebel in his senior year. 17 Wanting to support Robert, the
entire football team campaigned on his behalf. Because the team
was somewhat isolated from the rest of the students — players
were required to sleep in the same dorm and eat in the same
dining hall — some wondered if Robert had enough on-campus
exposure to win. However, we quickly found that the team's
isolation did not hurt Robert's chances at all. In fact, it was
impossible to find anyone who wasn't going to vote for him.
Obviously, he won in a land slide!
Another thing I immediately noticed about Robert was his
innate toughness. Robert played tackle on both offense and
defense for four years during his time at Ole Miss, and one thing's
for certain: no one could play that position under Coach John
Vaught without being tough. But when I think of Robert's football
career at Ole Miss, I am reminded not only of his physical
toughness but his mental toughness as well. During the 1959
season, on a freezing November day in Memphis, we played the
University of Tennessee. The previous week, Tennessee had
knocked LSU out of the unbeaten ranks, which made our game
even more important. With a record of 7-1 we knew a win would
send us to a major bowl game. For the first half it was an
extremely hard-fought game. With just seconds to go before
halftime, Robert came into the game and kicked a frozen football
47 yards against the wind right between the goal posts, and we
entered the locker room leading 10-7. You never saw a more fired
up bunch of guys. Needless to say we came out in the second half
and won the game 37-7, 18 earning ourselves a rematch against
LSU in the Sugar Bowl. 19 I've often wondered what would have
happened had Robert not made that remarkable kick.
17 This title is the equivalent of the most popular male student at Ole Miss.
18 Ole Miss entered this game ranked fifth, but that decisive win catapulted the
Rebels to the number two spot in the nation. How Ole Miss and LSU Advanced to the
1960 Sugar Bowl, Official Site of the Allstate Sugar Bowl,
http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site216.php (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
19 The Ole Miss Rebels handily defeated the LSU Tigers 21-0 for their first
National Championship. The 1960 Sugar Bowl was the first bowl game nationally
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 49
At the end of the football season, Robert was selected to play
in the College All-Star Game against the NFL's reigning
champion, the Baltimore Colts. 20 Robert remembers playing this
game not as a kicker but as an offensive lineman. He loves to tell
the story of lining up for the first play from scrimmage and across
from him was none other than the Colts' All-Pro defensive tackle
Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb. 21 Lipscomb, who was listed at 6'7,"
300-plus pounds, looked across the line at Robert and said, "Boy,
does your mamma know where you are?" Robert replied,
"Obviously not. If she did I would still be in Moss Point!" I guess
you could call his reply grace under pressure. The fact that Robert
chose to kick in the NFL is a testament to his intelligence. 22
After an excellent career in professional football, Robert
returned to Oxford and, as we all know, began his journey to
becoming the fifteenth chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
Those of us who love Ole Miss are grateful to him for being there
for us and helping make our alma mater become the wonderful
place that it is today. A few years ago, Robert's good friend and
former law school student, John Grisham was giving a talk on
campus and he said, "When I grow up, I want to be just like
Robert Khayat." 23 For those of us who have known and loved
Robert for so many years, I think that just about sums up our
feelings. We should all want to grow up to be like Robert Khayat.
televised in color. 26th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic ~ January 1, 1960. Official Site of
the Allstate Sugar Bowl, http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/sitel40.php (last visited
Aug. 1, 2011).
20 This game was known as The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game, and was
held from 1934 to 1976 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The 1960 All-Star game featured
Johnny Unitas throwing three touchdown passes to lead the Colts to a 32-7 victory over
the College All-Stars and their coach, Otto Graham. Mark Bolding, The 1960 College
All-star Game, BOLDING SPORTS RESEARCH, http://www.mmbolding.com/
BSR/The_Chicago_All-Star_Game_1960.htm (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
21 Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb played ten seasons in the National Football
League and was selected for the Pro Bowl three times. Lipscomb played defensive
tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, the Baltimore Colts, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
William Nack, Tlie Ballad of Big Daddy, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Jan. 11, 1999, at 72-88.
22 Robert Khayat played four seasons for the Washington Redskins, and was
named to the Pro Bowl in 1961. THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION,
http://www.footballfoundation.org/nff/biography/828/dr-robert-c-khayat (last visited
Aug. 1, 2011).
23 John R. Grisham, Address at the Investiture Ceremony of Chancellor Robert C.
Khayat (Apr. 11, 1996).
50 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
20 1 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 5 1
Dean Emeritus Parham H. Williams Jr.*
The morning was sunny, warm, and pleasantly humid — a
typical September morning in Oxford. I carefully opened my
Criminal Law casebook on the podium and surveyed the thirty-
one students gathered for the first class of the semester. All were
males who sat quietly, apprehensive and uncertain of what to
expect. My eyes settled on a young giant squeezed into a narrow
seat in the second row. Beneath his blond buzz cut, two baby blues
gazed at me expectantly. "Aha," I thought, "this must be Khayat."
Everyone on the law faculty knew who Khayat was — All-
American, All-Pro, Colonel Rebel, Hall of Fame, frequent escort of
Miss Americas and other glamour queens — but we were uncertain
of his talent for serious academic work. I decided to test the
"Mr. Khayat," I said in a tone of soothing insouciance, "our
first case is Barker v. State. 24 Would you be so kind as to recount
the facts and then analyze the court's holding?"
The case was a time bomb, loaded with conflicting facts and
confusing definitions of the degrees of murder. I smiled inwardly,
expecting a floundering effort that would expose the student's
total ineptitude for the study of law.
The response stunned me. The recounting of the facts was
thorough and explicit. Some stumbling did occur in unraveling the
theories of homicide, but few lawyers would have done any better.
I regarded "Mister" Khayat with a growing sense of appreciation.
This guy was smart!
Thus unfolded my introduction to Robert Khayat, the law
student. My initial impressions were continually reinforced as I
* Parham H. Williams Jr.: B.A., University of Mississippi; J.D., University of
Mississippi; LL.M., Yale University. Dean Emeritus Parham Williams served as
associate dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1970 and dean of the
school from 1971 to 1985. In 1985, Dean Williams left the university to serve as the
dean of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham,
Alabama. After eleven years in that position, Dean Williams moved to Chapman
University School of Law in Orange, California to lead that school as dean. Following
his retirement from Chapman, Dean Williams returned to the University of Mississippi
School of Law where he continues to teach. The Dean Parham H. Williams Endowed
Scholarship has been established at each of the three schools of law led by Dean
Williams and each school continues to award students with that scholarship.
24 150 N.E.2d 680 (1958).
52 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
got to know Robert better. He proved to be an excellent student,
always well-prepared and ready to offer thoughtful comments and
useful analyses of legal issues. Equally impressive was his
willingness to undertake special assignments, whether curricular
or extra-curricular (Josh Morse and Bill Bunkley had a few of the
latter), 25 and to accomplish them quickly and effectively. I was not
surprised when he was selected for membership on the Mississippi
Law Journal, nor when I learned that his law school GPA ranked
near the top of his class.
I doubt that many people today know that, while yet a
student, Robert "created" the Ole Miss Law Alumni Chapter. I
well remember when Josh Morse, then dean of the law school,
asked Robert to "see if you can dig up the names of our graduates
and make me a list." Not only did Robert "dig up the names," he
created a complete directory including the address, age, and year
of graduation of every living Ole Miss law graduate. Then he
arranged the initial meeting, counseled the newly elected officers,
and guided the nascent organization in its developing years.
Frankly, all of us who graduated from the law school are the
beneficiaries of Robert's ground-breaking work in establishing an
organization that continues to provide invaluable support to the
law school and the bar.
After I became dean, I was truly privileged to have Robert's
unfailing assistance and support as associate dean. When I reflect
on those years (it seems that I spend a lot of time reflecting these
days!), I inevitably conclude that much of the success achieved by
the law school during those years was the result of Robert's
inspired and untiring efforts in coordinating the academic work of
the faculty and students. He was the quintessential role model for
our younger law faculty — an exceptionally able and conscientious
classroom teacher; a productive scholar; and a compassionate and
caring counselor and friend to his students. In addition to carrying
a full teaching load, Robert was incredibly productive as an
administrator, carrying more than his full share of administrative
duties while accomplishing unbelievable quantities of just plain
25 Both men were dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. Joshua M.
Morse served as dean from 1963 to 1969, while Joel W. Bunkley, Jr., served as dean
from 1969 to 1971. MICHAEL DE L. LANDON, THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL
of Law: A Sesquicentennial History 97, 112-113, 118(2006).
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 53
old hard work. I shall always be grateful for Robert's support and
Few university presidents have graced their office with the
array of skills and experience that Robert exemplified. True, some
presidents may match his "people skills" — though close inspection
will narrow that list to a handful. And granted, some may boast of
comparable campus building programs — though again I suspect
that the list is quite short. And there may be a few, a very few,
with the incredible talent for fundraising that is among Robert's
most notable strengths. But none, I am certain, have encouraged
and influenced more people with the warm and winsome sincerity
that is the hallmark of his very being.
Let's cut to the chase. How many university presidents have
been at the helm of their school when it achieved a coveted
chapter of Phi Beta Kappa? And how many have raised hundreds
of millions in gifts that have transformed their institution? And
how many have presided over a presidential debate? 26 And how
many can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Marty Stuart and blow
away the crowd with scintillating Nashville chops and rockabilly
chicken pickin'? 27 I rest my case.
Prime among Robert's virtues are an easy grace and an
innate modesty. But he deserves to enjoy the accolades heaped
upon him, especially the naming of this magnificent law center in
his honor. Consider this. When Dean Roscoe Pound finally retired
as university professor at Harvard in 1947, a collection of essays,
penned by the leading scholars of the day, was published in his
honor. A magazine reporter asked him his thoughts about the
publication. The venerable dean smiled and replied: "Well, a man
is entitled to have his head swell a little over that!" 28 So, my
counsel to Robert is simple: let your head "swell just a little bit"
26 On September 26, 2008, the University of Mississippi hosted the first in a series
of four presidential debates between Senator John McCain and then Senator Barack
Obama. 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, http://www.olemiss.edu/debate/ (last visited Aug.
27 Country music singer Marty Stuart wrote The Moss Point Kid as a tribute to
then Chancellor Khayat. Stuart performed the song during a concert at the Gertrude
Ford Center on April 30, 2009. MARTY STUART, The Moss Point Kid (2009). A video of
the performance is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0v2qDHAgyo (last
visited Aug. 1. 2011).
28 Education: Man with a Memory, TIME MAGAZINE (Feb. 24, 1947), at 50.
54 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
and enjoy all the good words that come your way. And please
know always that I am very, very proud to have been your
teacher, your colleague, and your friend.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 55
The Honorable Reuben V. Anderson*
Robert Khayat and I were students in law school together at
the University of Mississippi in the mid-1960s. I can say with all
honesty that not everyone greeted me with the same ready smile
and handshake that he did. Many did not acknowledge my
existence. That was the beginning of my deep respect for this man.
Over the more than forty-five years that I have known Robert
Khayat, I have had many opportunities to witness his immensely
significant contributions to the university, the legal profession,
and the State of Mississippi. I have known him in his capacity as a
professor at the law school and as university chancellor.
Throughout my legal career, our paths have crossed many times.
This tribute gives me the chance to offer a public thanks for the
many considerate acts of kindness he has provided me.
I would like to reflect, however, on more personal experiences
that reveal his generosity of spirit and fullness of character. What
I have seen him do for our state as a whole is remarkable. We
have worked together with the Mississippi Economic Council, our
state's premier economic development organization. He took on
the challenging task of leading the first Blueprint Mississippi
* Reuben Anderson is a senior litigation partner in the Jackson office of Phelps
Dunbar LLP. Prior to joining Phelps Dunbar, Mr. Anderson served as the first African-
American Justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Mr. Anderson grew up in Jackson
and graduated from Tougaloo College in 1964. After being denied admission into the
University of Mississippi School of Law, Anderson enrolled in law school at Southern
University in Baton Rouge. After his first year, Anderson received a scholarship to the
University of Mississippi School of Law where he was the only African-American
student in his class.
Upon graduation, Mr. Anderson was hired by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where
he focused his practice on school desegregation and civil rights. In 1970, Mr. Anderson
helped form the law firm of Anderson Banks Nichols & Leventhal. Jackson mayor,
Russell Davis, appointed Anderson municipal court judge in 1976. Governor Clifton
"Cliff Finch appointed Anderson County Court Judge in 1977. In 1981, Governor
William Winter appointed Anderson to the Hinds County Circuit Court, and in 1985,
he was appointed by Governor William Allain to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Anderson served in that capacity for six years.
Throughout his professional career, Mr. Anderson served as president of the
Mississippi Economic Council, president of the Mississippi Bar Association, and a
commissioner for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He was inducted into
the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Distinguished Alumnus
Award. Mr. Anderson received a Mississippi Bar Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007
as well as the University of Mississippi School of Law Alumnus of the Year Award in
56 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
effort, 29 pulling together a somewhat fragmented business
community and creating a common agenda.
The final report released in 2004 was a strategic business
plan for continuous and significant improvements in the standard
of living across all regions of Mississippi. 30 It called for ways to
nurture the business climate, improve education, and advance
economic development through a partnership between business,
education, and government, so that all of the goals outlined in the
plan could be achieved. As a result of the thorough planning the
initiatives have been sustained. This is a product of the time and
effort that Robert Khayat put into the task.
Another noteworthy accomplishment that I witnessed is the
part he played in reaching a resolution of the Ayers case regarding
state funding for historically black universities, long neglected. 31
It was at his suggestion, as chancellor of Ole Miss, that the Board
of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning reached an
agreement that helped bring an end to the litigation and direct
funds to Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, and
Mississippi Valley State University. Without his influence, the
matter could be still in litigation.
His close association with the University of Mississippi
Medical Center in its academic as well as health care roles,
including its presence at the Jackson Medical Mall, has been a
tremendous benefit to the city of Jackson and the State of
Mississippi. The new Ole Miss Chancellor, Dr. Daniel Jones, is
maintaining the same strong support, and the university's
supporters appreciate this thoughtful plan of succession.
29 Blueprint Mississippi is a coalition of state development agencies whose mission
is to "[t]o create a strategic business plan, a blueprint, that provides opportunity for
continuous and significant improvements in the standard of living across all regions of
Mississippi. This sustainable, trackable program of work will serve as a road map to
success by nurturing the business climate, improving education and advancing
economic development through a partnership among business, education and
30 A link to the full text as well as an executive summary of the 2004 report can be
found at: http://www.msmec.com/images/stories/blueprint/2004BlueprintReport.pdf
31 The Ayers case refers to a settlement reached between the State, the Justice
Department, and private plaintiffs in a suit filed by Jake Ayers, Sr., claiming that the
state's historically black colleges suffered from not receiving the same funding as the
State's historically white colleges. The settlement resulted in the State agreeing to
spend nearly $500 million over two decades to increase funding for Jackson State
University, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University.
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 57
All of us in this state — businesses, educational institutions,
and citizens — have also benefitted from Robert Khayat's influence
in Washington, D.C., and the Mississippi State Capitol. And we
will all benefit for generations to come, as graduates of the
University of Mississippi and its school of law gain valuable skills
and knowledge for their lives and careers, thanks to the superb
advancements both institutions have enjoyed under Robert
Khayat's leadership. His integrity, vision, and perseverance are
the hallmarks of leadership of the highest order.
58 MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 59
Professor Robert A. Weems*
I would never have taught at the University of Mississippi
School of Law but for Robert Khayat. I met Robert when I came to
law school in 1964. He had started the previous semester. We
became good friends, as did our wives. Following our graduation
we kept in close touch. After practicing law in Pascagoula for a
while, he joined the faculty of the law school, and soon became
associate dean. He would mention from time to time that he
thought I would like teaching law, and that there was a possibility
of joining the faculty at Ole Miss. I had been in private practice in
Vicksburg for eleven years, but the thought of teaching at Ole
Miss certainly peaked my interest. When I told Robert that I
would like to try, he, with the assistance of other friends on the
faculty like Guff Abbott, Cliff Hodge, 32 and Dean Parham
Williams, got the rest of the faculty to go along.
My tenure at the law school, however, may well have been
short-lived but for Robert. I had been teaching Wills and Estates,
and had developed cases, statutes, and materials for a new course
specific to Mississippi wills and estates. Under the prevailing
rules at the time, this compilation alone was sufficient to satisfy
the research component required for tenure, however, the year
that I became eligible for tenure the university hired a new
provost who instituted new tenure requirements. His rule was
that a candidate for tenure had to publish a book or some other
significant work — which left me understandably concerned. The
day after hearing of this new rule, Robert informed me that we
were flying to Atlanta the next day to talk to the people at The
Harrison Company, publishers of law books. He, with the
* Robert A. Weems: B.S., Millsaps College; J.D., University of Mississippi.
Professor Weems joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi School of Law in
1977. Since then he has been named Outstanding Law Professor six times and received
the university's Outstanding Teacher Award in 1994. Professor Weems has published
multiple editions of the books Wills and Administration of Estates in Mississippi and
Mississippi Wills and Estates: Cases, Statutes, and Materials. Along with Professor
Emeritus Guthrie T. Abbott, Professor Weems conducted the annual seminar
"Summary of Recent Mississippi Law" from 1984 to 2011.
32 E. Clifton Hodge, Jr., served as an associate professor with the University of
Mississippi School of Law from 1974 to 1982. Mr. Hodge is currently a partner in the
general litigation group of the law firm Phelps Dunbar LLP in Jackson, Mississippi.
PHELPS DUNBAR, http://www.phelpsdunbar.com/attorney-profile/profile/
hodgejr-94.html (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
60 MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
assistance of Dean Williams, got them to agree to publish my book
so that I could qualify for tenure — which I got. 33 Robert was not
only considerate of his friends, but was always willing to use his
influence and charm to help anyone who could use it.
Robert contributed to the betterment of the law school in
countless ways. He was a very good teacher. His special expertise
was in local government law. His students loved him for his
teaching ability and perhaps even more for his interest in them as
individuals as well as students. By the middle of a semester he
would know them all by name and know something about most of
them. And it seems he never forgot.
He also made many meaningful contributions to Oxford and
Lafayette County. I will mention just two. Shortly after I had
moved to Oxford I went with him on a Thursday night to
Harmontown, 34 a small community north of Oxford, to explain to a
group why he thought it was important for them to vote for a bond
issue to renovate the courthouse on the Square in Oxford.
Through Robert's help the initiative passed. He was also a moving
force in getting a two percent tourism tax passed, over determined
opposition, to help the university build a baseball stadium and to
provide the City with funds to make it more attractive to visitors.
To date, the City has received millions of dollars from this tax,
and the baseball stadium we have now has grown from that
But Robert's crowning achievements came during his
fourteen-year tenure as chancellor of the university. It has been
said that he did not just improve the university, but transformed
it. He transformed the attitudes of many people who work here,
and of the students who study here. He transformed the physical
campus as well. There is no part of the university that was not
improved, whether it was the construction of new buildings, the
33 Professor Weems' book— MISSISSIPPI WILLS AND ESTATES: CASES, STATUTES, AND
MATERIALS — was a huge success and in print for twenty years, producing three
34 Harmontown, Mississippi is an unincorporated community located in Lafayette
County between Highway 7 and Interstate 55, just north of Sardis Lake.
35 The current baseball facility, Swayze Field at Oxford-University Stadium,
opened on February 19, 1989. OLEMlSSSPORTS.COM, http://www.olemisssports.com/
facilities/ole-facilities-swayze-field.html (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LA W CENTER 6 1
renovation of existing buildings, or the beautification of virtually
every piece of ground not occupied by a building.
In Saint Paul's Cathedral in London there is a plaque bearing
the name of its great architect, Sir Christopher Wren. It is
inscribed "Reader, if you seek his memorial — look around you." 36
There easily could be a plaque like that somewhere, anywhere, on
this campus with Robert Khayat's name on it.
36 The Latin phrase etched on a stone plaque obituary by Wren's son, reads
"Lector, Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice." JAMES ELMES, SIR CHRISTOPHER
WREN AND HIS TIMES 411 (Chapman & Hall 1852).
62 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
20 1 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 63
Professor Emeritus Guthrie T. Abbott*
In 1964, my wife and I, newlyweds, moved into the Avent
Acres apartments in Oxford, Mississippi, and my life was changed
for the better because that is where I met Robert Conrad Khayat.
Robert and I were starting at the Ole Miss Law School. I entered
law school because I couldn't figure out what to do with my math
degree, and Bob Galloway, 37 my good friend and college
roommate, was going to law school — so why not just tag along?
Robert entered law school because he needed help with the
laws of contracts-especially negotiations. You see, Robert had just
finished a year of work as placekicker for the Washington
Redskins of the NFL. For his excellent work, Robert was awarded
All-Pro honors by the league, and the Redskins offered him a
contract for about $14,000 to sign for the next year. Robert,
without the help of the sports agent who is so ubiquitous today,
demanded that he be paid $15,000, or "I will just go to law school."
The rest is history! The Redskins had another bad year, and the
University of Mississippi and our law school continue to reap the
benefits of the Redskins' folly.
Knowing Robert as a neighbor, law school classmate, faculty
colleague, and as chancellor, has enriched my life in many ways.
He has always been an exemplar of what a fine human being
should be. Of course, his shining examples kept many of us Avent
Acres neighbors in trouble by comparison. For instance, on cold
winter mornings when my wife Patsy would go out to start our car
* Guthrie T. (Guff) Abbott: B.A., University of Mississippi; J.D., University of
Mississippi; Fellow in Law and the Humanities, Harvard University. Professor Abbott
became a full-time member of the University of Mississippi School of Law faculty in
1970 following three years of private practice in Gulfport, Mississippi. From 1984 to
2011 Professor Abbott, in conjunction with Professor Robert Weems, conducted the
annual seminar "Summary of Recent Mississippi Law." Professor Abbott served as the
acting dean of the law school from 1985 to 1986, and in 1998 became the second
professor to serve as the president of the Mississippi Bar following Dean Robert J.
Farley who served as bar president in 1954. Professor Abbott is the Butler, Snow,
O'Mara, Stevens, & Cannada Lecturer in Law Emeritus and continues to teach
Mississippi Civil Practice at the school of law.
37 Robert C. Galloway is a member of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens, & Cannada,
PLLC in the firm's Gulfport office. Mr. Galloway received his bachelor's degree from
the University of Mississippi in 1964, followed by a law degree from the University of
Mississippi School of Law in 1967. BUTLER SNOW, http://www.butlersnow.com/
bob_galloway.aspx (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
64 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
and go to work, she would see that Robert's long green Pontiac
was running and getting warm for Margaret Khayat to enter
shortly thereafter. My mother taught me that "comparisons were
odious," but Patsy was obviously never given that lesson.
Robert was a leader at the law school from the day that he
joined the faculty, and I will forever be indebted to him for helping
me gain a faculty position. There are numerous reasons why
Robert was well-liked and respected by students and faculty alike,
but a conversation that we had many years ago explains a lot.
Robert was serving as associate dean of the law school and had
just helped a student stay in school by both securing financial aid
and sharing some sound advice regarding school and life. 38 As
with so many other instances in assisting students and faculty
colleagues, Robert had gone "above and beyond." I tried to
compliment Robert on what he had done, but he wouldn't hear of
it. He simply said: "Guff, what I really like to do is help people."
Well Robert has been blessed and in turn has blessed
thousands of people with his help, including me. His innovative
thinking, sound judgment, and work ethic have benefitted the law
school, the university, the legal profession, and our community
I am literally "richer" because of Robert. In my thirties
Robert made me start saving some money. He said: "Guff, you owe
it to your family. You have to save something every month, even if
it is just $50.00." I listened, and we may never be rich, but we will
never be poor — thanks to Robert Khayat.
In discussing Robert with faculty colleagues you hear of his
wonderful sense of humor (he even laughed when referred to as
the "Ass Dean" of the law school — short for Associate Dean, of
course). Words and phrases such as: "collegial," "forgiving" (I do
not believe that Robert has ever held a grudge in his life), "caring,"
"sound judgment," "fair," "smart," "forward thinker," "truly loves
and cares for all of God's children," are the types of comments you
38 Robert Khayat served as the associate dean of the law school for seven years
before moving to the Lyceum to become vice chancellor for university affairs. Professor
Thomas R. Mason would replace Khayat as the law school's associate dean. MICHAEL
De L. Landon, The University of Mississippi School of Law: A Sesquicentennial
History 144 (2006).
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 65
It is my privilege to know and be influenced by Robert and to
call him colleague and friend. I smile every time I enter the Robert
C. Khayat Law Center. No honor ever bestowed could be more
66 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 67
Judge S. Allan Alexander*
I never knew Robert Khayat the football player, perish the
thought! Football? I attended a small undergraduate school for
women in Missouri, if that gives any indication of my interest in
sports. I met "Mr. Khayat" as a first-year student at the law school
in 1975, but I was never in one of his classes. After graduating
from law school and working for two years as a federal law clerk, I
went into private practice as an associate with Holcomb, Dunbar,
Connell, Merkel, Tollison, & Khayat, where Robert was a partner.
By that time, however, Robert was spending almost all of his time
as a law professor, so I never actually practiced law with him.
All of those "near misses" would ordinarily mean that Robert
Khayat had no opportunity or inclination to influence me
personally or professionally, but that is not the case. In fact, his
grace and example have been guideposts for me, more and more as
I have grown older.
The size of the law school student body population has not
changed much since the mid-seventies. I was in the last class to
graduate from Farley Hall; 39 the cramped building somehow felt
more intimate and allowed more constant interaction between
faculty and students. It will not surprise anyone who ever met
Robert to learn that he took advantage of that fact, always making
a point to learn students' names and something about them
personally. He has always had that rare gift that allows him to
connect with and motivate other people regardless of gender, race,
age or socioeconomic status. He regularly mingled with students
in the halls, visited the Law Journal offices (and, I'm sure, other
student-staffed offices) to take our pulses and generally let all the
* Judge S. Allan Alexander: B.A., William Woods College; J.D., University of
Mississippi. Following fourteen years of private practice in Oxford, Mississippi, Judge
Alexander was appointed to her current position as a United States Magistrate Judge
for the Northern District of Mississippi in 1994. Since 2007, Judge Alexander has
served as a co-chairperson of the uniform local civil rules committee for the United
States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and since
2008, she has served as the chairperson of the rules committee for the Federal
Magistrate Judges Association. In 2008 Judge Alexander was bestowed with the
Mississippi Women Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2009
received the Northern District Chief Judge Award.
39 The University of Mississippi School of Law moved from Farley Hall to the
Lamar Law Center in the summer of 1978. See MICHAEL DE L. LANDON, THE
University of Mississippi School of Law: A Sesquicentennial History 136 (2006).
68 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
students know that he was available to assist them in any way he
could. 40 He still calls me "Miss A." because my first-year study
group — a group of what my mother always referred to as
"knotheads" — called me that. Everyone in the study group but me
played guitar or banjo, and Robert used to bring his guitar when
they got together to celebrate and play. We loved that.
Although Robert's life may appear charmed to some, his
successes have come to him not by luck but by dint of good
instincts, a head for strategy, a sense of mission, and the hard
work and dedication necessary to carry him to full success in
nearly everything he has ever attempted. His keen powers of
observation and his insight into human nature, in combination
with his determination to excel while doing good, give him the
vision to see possibilities and the energy to push them through to
reality possessed by very few. It is our good fortune that he chose
to apply all of these talents to the task of directing the University
of Mississippi toward excellence in all departments. It is no
exaggeration to say that there was probably no other individual
who in fourteen short years could have moved Ole Miss so far
away from its haunted, negative past and started the school so
effectively on its clear path to real academic competitiveness in a
public university setting.
In all of his accomplishments Robert has been guided by a
rock-solid sense of what is right and what is wrong. And he has
learned — and taught me along the way — that inner peace and a
constructive life come from forgiveness of self and, more
importantly, forgiveness of others for real or perceived wrongs. As
he once told me, refusal to forgive does nothing to harm the
unforgiven; the harm it causes is to the intransigent grudge-
holder, eating away at the latter's capacity for kindness and good.
Life, he said, became so much simpler after he came to that
realization. The concept that hatred and vengeance do not solve
problems did not originate with Robert, of course, but he was the
one who personified it for me by living the principle himself.
This, then, is the Robert Khayat I know. He is a mission-
driven perfectionist with his drive tempered by a strong sense of
40 While in law school, Judge Alexander served as Editor-in-Chief of the
Mississippi Law Journal. 48 MISS. L.J. 1097 (1977).
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 69
compassion, fairness, and justice. His example has been
invaluable to me and to countless others.
70 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 71
Professor Deborah H. Bell*
I have known Robert Khayat as a colleague, a dean, and a
chancellor. But I first knew him as my professor.
I started law school in 1976. It was a different time. Professor
Kingsfield, of The Paper Chase fame, 41 was a model for law
professors across the country. The Socratic method — overlaid with
intimidation and, in some cases, sarcasm — was the expected style
of teaching. Then, there were no laptops in the classroom. No
barrier between you and the query with your name attached. No
way for a compassionate classmate to text you a few key phrases.
And the demographic of the faculty matched. The professors were
male. White. Intimidating. 42
The class of 1979 gathered for the first time in an enormous
lecture hall — all 220 of us in a single Torts class. Looking back, I
can see the faces of judges, governors, CEOs, bar presidents. But
at 8:00 on an August morning, we were frightened twenty-
somethings in faded jeans and bad 70s hair. 43 Tom Mason lit a
cigarette, 44 waved a coffee cup at us, and in his gravely smoker's
* Professor Deborah Hodges Bell: J.D., University of Mississippi. A 1979 graduate of
the University of Mississippi School of Law, Professor Bell joined the school's faculty in
1981. She is the founder of the school's Civil Legal Clinic and served as the clinic's
director until 2009. Professor Bell is the author of the book Bell on Mississippi Family
Law, currently in its second edition and widely used by the State's practitioners and
judiciary. She has served on various statewide committees including the Access to
Justice Commission Pro Se Committee, the Mississippi Gender Fairness Task Force,
and the Supreme Court Domestic Violence Task Force. Professor Bell has received
numerous awards including 2005 University of Mississippi Law Faculty Public Service
Award, the 2006 Mississippi Bar Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year Award, 2007
Mississippi Center for Justice Champion of Justice Award, and the 2009 Mississippi
Bar Susie Blue Buchanan Lifetime Award. As a student at the University of
Mississippi School of Law, Bell served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law
41 The 1973 film, based on the 1970 novel, starred John Houseman as Charles W.
Kingsfield, Jr., the "boorish and pompous . . . [s]ocratic [mjonster" who served as the
first-year Contracts professor at Harvard Law School. Michael Vitiello, Professor
Kingsfield: The Most misunderstood Character in Literature, 33 HOFSTRA L. REV. 955,
42 Now we have gender equality — the Kingsfield role was effectively reprised by a
woman in the movie Legally Blonde when she asked one student if he would bet a
classmate's life on his answer. LEGALLY BLONDE (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 2001).
43 The Farrah Fawcett "wings" look was the style of choice. Somehow it never
looked like the poster.
44 Thomas R. Mason joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi School of
Law in the spring of 1973 and was appointed associate dean in the fall of 1983.
72 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
voice said, "Girl in the black t-shirt . . . stand up." 45 My heart
stopped. My voice shook. 46 Property was no better. I spent hours
preparing my case presentation for "Iron" Mike Featherstone —
complete with a diagram for the board. 47 He picked up an eraser,
wiped away my notes and told me to sit down. I knew classmates
who were physically ill before his class.
Having survived round one, we gathered for the first spring
class in the strange first-floor room with the enormous column in
the middle. 48 The schedule read Wills and Estates, Professor
Robert Khayat. We all were, understandably, tense — girded for
the next onslaught.
Robert's teaching style was by far the friendliest and most
relaxed we had encountered. The class was challenging, but there
was no shouting. He was firm without being demeaning. He
expected much from us . . . but he offered something in return. He
remembered our names. He wanted to know about our
hometowns. He asked about — and often knew — our parents. And,
over the years, he never forgot us.
Robert has described the significance of one person's
friendliness to him as a lonely, homesick freshman. He has done
the same for more students than we can count. Fittingly, the
building that bears his name is designed for connection. The
classrooms encourage exchange rather than create intimidation.
The building is scattered with small group seating. Student
organization offices are scattered among faculty offices, and a cafe
Michael De L. Landon, The University of Mississippi School of Law: A
Sesquicentennial History 123, 144 (2006).
45 Professors were free to smoke in class, including George Cochran, who
repeatedly confused his cigarette with chalk and stabbed the blackboard, shooting
sparks into the first row of the class.
46 Professor Mason's growl, it turned out, disguised an Okie heart of gold. But it
took a while to realize that.
47 D. Michael Featherstone joined the faculty of the law school inl972 and would
remain with the school for twenty-nine years before retiring in 2001. David W. Case,
Tribute to "Iron Mike" Featherstone, 70 MISS. L.J. 497 (2000).
48 Tommy Ethridge, whom we miss dearly, is alleged to have called repeatedly
during one semester on "Mr. Post," misreading the designation for the column on the
Thomas R. Ethridge joined the law school faculty in 1971 following his service as a
Mississippi State Senator and a United States attorney for the northern district of
Mississippi. MICHAEL De L. LANDON, THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL OF LAW:
A SESQUICENTENNIAL HISTORY 117 (2006).
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 73
offers a spot for faculty and students to mingle throughout the
day. Even the staircases seem designed to make us stop and talk.
Robert's achievements as chancellor have been aptly
documented. He will be remembered for the beauty of the campus,
the expansion of private funding, securing Phi Beta Kappa,
recruiting minority students. But what I will remember is that as
a first-year law student he made me feel at home. 49
49 And oddly, it has turned out to be just that.
74 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 75
Maey Ann Connell*
Chancellor Robert C. Khayat and I first met in the Sunday
school class for freshmen students in Wesley Hall at the Oxford-
University Methodist Church in early September 1956. I was a
sophomore at the university attending the Sunday school class for
a second year because Dean Malcolm Guess, the teacher, told my
friend Mary Ann Mobley and me that we had failed the class the
first time around and had to pay penance by coming back the
second year to welcome and assist the next class of incoming
freshmen. On the first Sunday of the fall semester in 1956, we
welcomed the new group to our class with donuts and hot
chocolate. Among the group were Dan Jordan from Philadelphia
and two young men from South Mississippi, Robert Khayat and
Warner Alford. Also in the class were Gerald Walton, later provost
of the university, and his to-be wife, Julie Hart. That nurturing
and supportive place spawned friendships that would last a
Throughout our days at Ole Miss, I observed Chancellor
Khayat to be the same warm, loving, caring, and charismatic
person he is today. A true "Renaissance Man," he studied history
and literature, read and wrote poetry, appreciated music and the
arts, and engaged in the life of the university community in all of
its multi-faceted layers. He was the embodiment of what the study
of liberal arts is about.
My first professional interaction with Chancellor Khayat
came when he, Grady Tollison, and I practiced law together on the
Square in Oxford. Although it was a time when women were not
generally accepted in the legal world, they welcomed me, taught
me how to practice law, supported me intellectually and
personally, and caused me to love being a part of the legal
Our lives continued to intersect professionally and
personally. Shortly after Chancellor Khayat returned to the
* Mary Ann Connell: B.A., University of Mississippi; M.A., University of
Mississippi; MLScL, University of Mississippi; J.D., University of Mississippi; LL.M.,
Harvard Law School. Ms. Connell was formerly general counsel for the University of
Mississippi and a former president of the National Association of College and
University Attorneys. She is presently of counsel with Mayo Mallette PLLC, Oxford,
76 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
campus to teach in the law school, I became the university
attorney. I continued to see the boy-student of early Ole Miss days
grow to become the man-student of later professor and chancellor
days. Through all these years, I have continued to observe the
eternal verities of William Faulkner — truth, justice, mercy,
kindness, and love — lived out in this person whom I am honored to
call my friend.
In 1969, Chancellor Khayat and his wife Margaret moved to
Oxford shortly after my husband Bill and I did. Chancellor Khayat
and I immediately restored our college friendship, but this time
with an added dimension. I found Chancellor Khayat's wife
Margaret to be my soul-mate. From the beginning of our
friendship, we recognized that we are different in many ways, but
those differences do not matter. We share a binding, loving
relationship that ideological and political differences can never
separate. She is one of the brightest, quickest, most well-read,
interesting, loving, caring people I have ever known. Time spent
with Margaret is time cherished by me. So, to Chancellor Khayat,
I give my appreciation for bringing a true friend, Margaret, into
Although Chancellor Khayat's accomplishments as chancellor
are many, one in particular has provided the university with
tremendous national recognition and will endure in perpetuity.
In his investiture address on April 11, 1996, Chancellor
Khayat "set for the institution a series of goals that would improve
the academic quality of the University of Mississippi, [and]
stimulate the intellectual and cultural life of the university
community. . . ." 50 One of his most ambitious goals was to pursue
a long-held dream of sheltering a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. 51
Many, including the chancellor's strongest supporters, thought he
was dreaming the impossible. 52
50 Robert C. Khayat Investiture Address, OXFORD EAGLE, Apr. 11, 1996. at 11B.
51 Id. The term "shelter" is used by Phi Beta Kappa to indicate that a college or
university hosts a chapter of the academic fraternity.
52 See, e.g., Barbara Lago, The Renaissance Man, 54 OLE MISS ALUMNI REV. 24
(Summer 2005) (Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor for university relations, stated "When
he unfolded his plans to pursue a chapter, I told him he was crazy, it was not possible. .
. ."); Pamela Hamilton, Accomplishment silences doubters, DAILY MlSSISSIPPIAN, Oct.
23, 2000, at 5 (noting that Chancellor Khayat admitted that "some people thought I'd
lost my mind").
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 11
Chancellor Khayat displayed unwavering commitment and
courage in an effort to obtain recognition by the nation's most
prestigious academic honor society. Shortly after his appointment
as the University of Mississippi's 15th chancellor, Chancellor
Khayat called upon Dr. Douglas W. Foard, Secretary of the Phi
Beta Kappa Society, in Washington, D.C., to discuss how the
university might succeed in its application for a chapter of Phi
Beta Kappa and why the university's previous applications had
been denied. 53
Dr. Foard told Chancellor Khayat that the university's
library holdings were inadequate, faculty salaries in the College of
Liberal Arts were below standard, and student ACT scores were
too low. 54 Dr. Foard also impressed upon the chancellor that the
application for a chapter must originate with and be submitted by
the faculty of the university who were members of Phi Beta
Kappa. When he returned to Oxford, Chancellor Khayat first set
about to remedy the problems Dr. Foard had identified. He
solicited gifts from generous donors: $8 million to support the
holdings of the John D. Williams Library, $5.4 million to recreate
the honors program as the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors
College, 55 a gift equivalent to a $60 million endowment to create
the Croft Institute for International Studies, $30 million from two
former law students as an endowment for faculty salaries, and a
$25 million commitment from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation
for a state-of-the-art performing arts center. 56
The University of Mississippi Foundation Board of Directors
enthusiastically undertook responsibility for planning and
53 Phi Beta Kappa rejected the university's previous applications in 1952, 1977,
1983, and 1987. The university withdrew its pending application with the outbreak of
the Civil War. Likewise, the university withdrew its application in 1930 when
Governor Bilbo intruded into higher education in Mississippi and dismissed several
faculty members. Phi Beta Kappa suspended action on all applications, including that
of the University of Mississippi, in 1942 after the beginning of World War II.
54 Interview with Robert C. Khayat (Mar. 30, 2011); 54 OLE MISS ALUMNI REV. 27
55 A later endowment by the Barksdales brought the total gift to $8.3 million for
continued support of the Honors College. The Honors College has housed some of the
most gifted undergraduate students in the nation, including two Truman Scholars, two
Goldwater Scholars, and a Rhodes Scholar.
56 Interview with Robert C. Khayat (May 7, 2011); Interview with Don L. Fruge,
former president and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation (May 2, 2011).
78 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
conducting a campaign for the private support that would fund
academic enrichment projects for the library, scholarships, faculty
salaries, and the honors program. The Phil Hardin Foundation
provided a grant of $24,000 to support the work of the Phi Beta
Kappa Application Committee and subsequently gave a $450,000
challenge grant to the university to be used in pursuit of a Phi
Beta Kappa chapter. 57
After obtaining these gift commitments, Chancellor Khayat
hosted a dinner at Memory House for the thirty-five regular and
six emeriti Phi Beta Kappa faculty members at the university and
asked if they were willing to undertake leadership in the arduous
process of applying for a chapter. The assembled faculty accepted
Chancellor Khayat's challenge, and thus began an unprecedented
partnership, including Chancellor Khayat, the university
administration, the foundation, the faculty, staff, alumni, and
friends of Ole Miss. With the endorsement of the Phi Beta Kappa
faculty, Chancellor Khayat asked Dr. Ronald Schroeder, associate
professor of English, to serve as chair of the Phi Beta Kappa
Faculty Application Committee. Dr. Schroeder readily accepted
and began work on the preliminary application. Chancellor
Khayat offered the logistical support of the Office of the
University Attorney toward compiling the massive amounts of
data required. Nearly a year was spent gathering information and
writing the preliminary application.
Chancellor Khayat and Dr. Schroeder delivered the
university's 108-page preliminary application to the Phi Beta
Kappa Society's Washington, D.C. headquarters on October 22,
1997. 58 When they returned to campus, Dr. Schroeder wrote
Chancellor Khayat expressing his gratitude for the chancellor's
"unflagging support of our application for a chapter of Phi Beta
57 Letter from C. Thompson Waycaster to Chancellor Robert Khayat, Feb. 13, 1996
(on file in the office of the chancellor); UM receives challenge grant to help obtain Phi
Beta Kappa chapter, OXFORD EAGLE, Oct. 10, 1997 (The challenge grant required the
university to match the grant on a two-to-one basis. The university raised $900,000 to
be eligible to receive the $450,000 grant.).
58 Letter from Dr. Ronald A. Schroeder to The Committee on Qualifications, Phi
Beta Kappa (Oct. 22, 1997) (on file in the office of the chancellor); memorandum from
Dr. Ronald A. Schroeder to Phi Beta Kappa Faculty (Oct. 23, 1997) (on file in the office
of the chancellor).
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 79
Kappa." 59 In particular, he thanked the chancellor for having
given the Application Committee material assistance (notably by
enlisting the university attorney to give logistical support),
focusing the community's attention on the academic mission of the
university, vigorously pursuing gifts and grants from external
sources, and tirelessly offering encouragement and optimism. 60
The preliminary application was well-received. Work
immediately began on a much longer and comprehensive General
Report that contained detailed information regarding virtually
every facet of the university's mission and operation. 61
The collaborative work in compiling this document took an
entire year. On September 30, 1998, Dr. Schroeder delivered the
418-page General Report to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The
Society's Committee on Qualifications gave its preliminary
approval of the written application. Shortly thereafter, a team of
visitors from Phi Beta Kappa came to campus. 62 Over three days,
they conducted an extensive study of the university's resources
that supported the application for a chapter. Impressed with the
59 Letter from Dr. Ronald A. Schroeder to Dr. Robert C. Khayat, chancellor (Oct.
23, 1997) (on file in the office of the university attorney).
60 Id. It should be noted that during this same time period, Chancellor Khayat
faced the greatest challenge of his years as chancellor. He upheld the ban the athletic
department placed on sticks and banners exceeding 11" x 14" from athletic arenas as
part of its game-management practice. This action was part of the chancellor's mission
to change the image of the University of Mississippi by aggressively confronting its
shortcomings, both real and perceived. His efforts resulted in Confederate flags almost
totally disappearing from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on football game days. See
Kevin Sack, The Final Refrains of "Dixie," N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 1, 1998, § 4A, at 20. The
importance of Chancellor Khayat's action in the flag controversy cannot be
overemphasized. See Lago, supra note 5, at 29 ("'Had we not dealt with the Rebel flag,
we would not have received Phi Beta Kappa, and that is a fact,' Khayat said. 'I was told
that by people in Phi Beta Kappa. That trauma we went through in '97 was part of this
package.'"); see also A legacy inscribed, TUPELO DAILY J., Apr. 18, 2011, available at
("The Phi Beta Kappa designation the university eventually received would not have
come without those changes, nor would the university's heightened national profile.").
61 The completed Report contained data on the organization of the university and
the College of Liberal Arts, admission and enrollment of students, degrees conferred,
the curriculum, grading policies, advising, cultural activities, faculty compensation,
athletics, laboratories in the sciences, computing facilities, and the university's
62 Members of the visiting team were: Dr. Ira Fischler, psychology professor at the
University of Florida; Dr. Allison Blakely, history professor at Howard University; and
Dr. Solomon Gartenhaus, physics professor at Purdue University.
80 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College; improved support for the
libraries; the strengthening of the Liberal Arts faculty salaries;
the diversity of the faculty, staff, and student body; and a rise in
entering freshman ACT scores; the site team made a positive
recommendation to Phi Beta Kappa's twelve-member Committee
on Qualifications. In May 1999, the Committee on Qualifications
recommended to the Phi Beta Kappa Senate that the faculty at
the University of Mississippi shelter a chapter. The Senate
followed the affirmative recommendation of the Committee and
sent its positive vote to the Society's Council.
The final step in the process came on October 21, 2000, when
Phi Beta Kappa Council delegates from all the chapters in the
nation voted "overwhelmingly in favor" of establishing a chapter
at the University of Mississippi. 63 Chancellor Khayat, Dr.
Schroeder, and other representatives of the university were
present at the national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
when the 300 delegates from around the country made the final
vote. Within minutes after the affirmative vote was announced,
Chancellor Khayat said: "I'm thrilled for the university and our
students. It is really a national affirmation that Mississippi has
made a major commitment to high-quality higher education." 64
One observer, describing the chancellors jubilant spirit, said he
looked "like the man who just kicked the winning field goal." 65
Accolades and congratulations quickly poured in from faculty,
students, alumni, donors, and officials at other universities. Phi
Beta Kappa Society Secretary, Dr. Doug Foard praised the
chancellor, saying: "Give Khayat the credit. He has brought the
university to Phi Beta Kappa standards in all the areas identified
in the past as weaknesses." 66 Congratulations from the higher
education community and the press abounded. 67 On the day of the
63 Chris Thompson, Ole Miss lands Phi Beta Kappa chapter, CLARION-LEDGER, Oct.
22, 2000, at 1A.
65 Debbie Rossell, Phi Beta Kappa says yes to Ole Miss, OXFORD EAGLE, Oct. 23,
2000, at 1A.
66 Thompson, supra note 22.
67 See, e.g., Aiming high: Ole Miss getting Phi Beta Kappa reflects state's greater
aspirations, Ne. MISS. DAILY J., Oct. 24, 2000 ("It marks an important step in reaching
Khayat's often stated goal for Ole Miss to become recognized as one of the nation's top
public universities."); Education: Phi Beta Kappa award benefits state, CLARION-
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 81
next Ole Miss home football game, a plane flew over Vaught-
Hemingway Stadium with a banner floating behind, "Phi Beta
Kappa Comes to Ole Miss." Joy, pride, and celebration over this
remarkable achievement permeated the air on that homecoming
On April 6, 2001, the university held a formal ceremony in
the Circle in front of the Lyceum to celebrate the University of
Mississippi becoming the first chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at a
public university in the State of Mississippi. Designated Beta of
Mississippi, the chapter inducted fifty-six students from the top
ten percent of those in the College of Liberal Arts as Ole Miss's
first class to be given the Golden Key of Phi Beta Kappa. 69 Since
that time, Beta of Mississippi has inducted 692 students into its
chapter at the University of Mississippi. 70
Chancellor Khayat made stellar contributions to the
University of Mississippi during his fourteen-year tenure as
leader of this institution, but none has been larger than his
support of the Phi Beta Kappa faculty in their quest to shelter a
chapter of the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. 71
LEDGER, Oct. 24, 2000, at 8A ("[T]he PBK decision shows the world that higher-
education in Mississippi is not only a priority, but an ongoing achievement.").
68 Warner Alford, former athletic director, described the occasion: "It was like
winning the national championship." Lago, supra note 5, at 28. Jesse Phillips,
publisher of The Oxford Eagle, described the occasion as "Ole Miss scores academic
'touchdown.'" Mr. Phillips went on to say: "None of The University's great moments,
i.e., a national championship in football, going to the College World Series in baseball
or competing in post season play of basketball, tennis or golf, equal The University of
Mississippi being tapped by Phi Beta Kappa." Jesse P. Phillips, Ole Miss scores
academic 'touchdown,' OXFORD EAGLE, Oct. 24, 2000, at 4. Vice Chancellor Gloria
Kellum, who had earlier thought Chancellor Khayat was asking for too much too fast
with his quest for Phi Beta Kappa, apologized to the chancellor, saying, "When the
chapter was approved in Philadelphia, I congratulated him and told him he was
courageous. He looked at me and said, 'What about crazy?'" Lago, supra note 5, at 24.
69 Alpha of Mississippi of Phi Beta Kappa was chartered at Millsaps College in
1988 and was the first chapter of the Society in Mississippi. Beta of Mississippi
remains the only chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at a public university in this state.
70 Information on Beta of Mississippi inductees provided by Dr. Luanne Buchanan,
Secretary-Treasurer of Beta of Mississippi, May 2-4, 2011.
71 "Coming just five years after Khayat was named chancellor, the vote is viewed
by many across campus, state and nation as the pinnacle of his administration." Lago,
supra note 5, at 28.
82 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 83
Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton*
Having spent the better part of four decades on the Ole Miss
campus, Robert Khayat, upon becoming chancellor, already knew
all of the university's positives and negatives, nooks and crannies,
and successes and failures. His belief in the potential of the
university was unparalleled, and he had a keen sense that Ole
Miss could be more than a solid state flagship. He knew that with
some changes, it could evolve into one of America's great public
Ole Miss had always been a home for Mississippi's gifted
students, but Chancellor Khayat set out to make it more
attractive to the state's best and brightest students. At the time
he became chancellor, Ole Miss's existing honors program was
small and had limited resources. He dreamed early that we could
offer more to students, and before his investiture, he had already
proposed creation of a full-scale honors college to alumni Jim and
Sally Barksdale. At his inauguration, he announced the Barksdale
gift, then the largest in the history of Ole Miss. There was
overwhelming enthusiasm in the Ole Miss community for this
And so, with his energy and vision, he created the Sally
McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. 72 He put great effort into
recruiting the best students, and those efforts were so fruitful that
the new Honors College quickly became a dominant part of the
* Carolyn Ellis Staton: B.A., Tulane University; M.A., Teacher's College of Columbia
University; J.D., Yale Law School. A native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Dr. Staton
served as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey and practiced in a private firm in
New York before joining the faculty of the University of Mississippi School of Law in
1977. During the 1993-94 academic year, Dr. Staton served as the acting dean of the
law school. In 1994, she was appointed interim associate vice chancellor for academic
affairs, and in 1995, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. In 1999, Dr. Staton
became the first female to hold the position of provost and vice chancellor for academic
affairs at the University of Mississippi. After Dr. Staton's service at the law school,
former students honored her with the creation of an endowed scholarship in her name
at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Dr. Staton was the first recipient of the
Mississippi Bar Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year Award. She has also been the
recipient of the Mississippi Bar Susie Blue Buchanan Award.
72 In 1997, the McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College was created through an
endowment made by Jim and Sally Barksdale. After the death of Sally Barksdale in
2003, the honors college was renamed in her honor as the Sally McDonnell Barksdale
Honors College. HISTORY OF THE SALLY MCDONNELL BARKSDALE HONORS COLLEGE,
http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/about/history/ (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
84 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
culture at Ole Miss. Within short order, students flocked to what
he had created, a place that provided education that rivaled the
Ivies and other elite private schools, but provided that education
in an affordable manner. Today, the Honors College stands as a
major achievement, drawing the best students into its community.
Students proudly proclaim their identification with the Honors
College, and they thrive in the unique opportunities it presents to
Chancellor Khayat did not stop with that academic
achievement. Through the generosity of the Bancroft Foundation,
he created the Croft Institute for International Studies. 73 Aware
that universities in Mississippi had little or no courses in
international studies, he saw the need to bring students to what
has become a global table. Numerous faculty positions were added
in new fields, and Asian studies, Latin American studies and
Western European studies became established fields of learning.
During Khayat's administration, the university went from having
no courses relating to Asia to becoming the national flagship
program for the study of Chinese.
It has long been known that Ole Miss produced a majority of
state and federal political leaders. Building on this history,
Chancellor Khayat built the Lott Leadership Institute, which
would provide more opportunities for students to learn skills
necessary to take on leadership roles, whether in government or
the private sector. 74 Along with the Lott Institute, a new major,
Public Policy, was created to provide a formal education for future
While concentrating on the academic community, increasing
the size of the library, and bolstering faculty salaries, Chancellor
Khayat knew that the road to greatness would take more. With
73 The Croft Institute for International Studies hosts approximately 175 students
from twenty-two states and twelve countries. Once in the program, students select a
region and global theme on which to concentrate and are required to become proficient
in a foreign language. CROFT INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/Pages/?section=5&page=45
(last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
74 The Lott Leadership Institute has a three-fold mission. First, prepare students
to assume positions of leadership. Second, support policy research through the Public
Policy Research Center. Third, create and support outreach programs. LOTT
LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE, http://www.lottinst.olemiss.edu/About/ (last visited Aug. 1,
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 85
fortitude and vision he led Ole Miss into confronting its past,
embracing it, and moving beyond it to become a national leader in
racial reconciliation. Thus, the Winter Institute for Racial
Reconciliation was created, 75 and the forty-fifth commemoration of
James Meredith's admission culminated in the dedication of a
statue of Meredith and a reunion of the U.S. Marshals on campus
during those turbulent days.
Chancellor Khayat clearly ranks as the most transformative
of all Ole Miss chancellors. We often speak of his administration
as a renaissance. That is not an understatement. Under his
leadership, the University of Mississippi was reborn and became a
model for the 21st century American university. His deep love for
Ole Miss was the undercurrent for all his achievements,
achievements that would dramatically enhance the university
while ensuring that it is, indeed, one of America's great public
75 The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation was founded in 1999 to
"build more inclusive communities by promoting diversity and citizenship, and by
supporting projects that help communities solve local challenges." THE WILLIAM
Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, http://www.winterinstitute.org/pages/
aboutus.htm (last visited Aug. 1, 2011).
86 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 87
Dr. Andrew P. Mullins Jr.*
Nobody loves the University of Mississippi more than Robert
Khayat. During his fourteen-year tenure as chancellor, he
demonstrated that love every day, and I truly believe that
everything he did and each decision he made had the
advancement of Ole Miss as the ultimate goal. His love was Ole
Miss and his overriding passion was the way it looked — the beauty
of the grounds and buildings; the types of flowers in the beds; the
lighting of the campus; where the gutters emptied; the lack of
paint on the doors and windows; where the air conditioners were
located; the design of garbage cans; the height and color of the
curbs; the content and color of every campus sign; where grass
grew and where it did not and why it did not; the position of the
pine straw; the canopy of the trees; the conditions of streets —
including the color of pedestrian crossing stripes; and trash. To
this day if I pass a small piece of litter without picking it up, I feel
guilty and have this feeling like God is watching. I appreciate
seeing students and faculty members continuing to take pride in
the Ole Miss campus just as Robert Khayat instilled in all of us.
Like the rest of campus, his concern for the Grove was always
high. On early season football game days, if the weather forecast
was for rain, I knew that a call from the chancellor was
imminent. 76 It always followed the same pattern — a concern for
the soaked grass being trampled beyond repair by the crowds of
fans followed by the question of why we don't close the Grove so it
will remain in the beautiful condition it was before the season
began. My reply was always the same, but painful nevertheless
because I could sense the disappointment from one who loved the
beauty of the Grove beyond any football fans. My consistent
* Dr. Andrew P. Mullins Jr. currently serves as chief of staff to the chancellor and as
an associate professor of education. Mullins has served as the special assistant/chief of
staff for three chancellors over a seventeen-year span. A native Mississippian, Mullins
grew up in Macon, Mississippi before earning a B.A. in history from Millsaps College.
Mullins would then earn his MA. in history from Mississippi College and later
attended the University of Mississippi to earn a Ph.D in higher education
administration. As a co-founder of the Mississippi Teacher Corps Program, Mullins
continues to serve as a co-director for that organization.
76 Mullins also serves as the chair of the University of Mississippi Game Day
Committee, a group responsible for the planning and oversight of activities during
game days on the Ole Miss campus.
88 MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
response was that the grass would be trampled regardless, it
would of course be replaced after the season, and we had to serve
our fans despite the inclement weather. He would always respond
that he knew I would say that, but it was worth a try
All of us who worked with Chancellor Khayat began to see
things in a different perspective because of his attention to detail.
Now when we visit other campuses, we notice various aspects of
appearances that previously would have been overlooked. We all
have a deeper appreciation of the small things that make such a
difference in a campus — things that collectively contribute to the
overall quality of the educational experience. As the appearance of
the campus improved, the pride in the university grew. The
feelings of those who worked and learned here were that this was
indeed a special place. We relished the compliments of visitors and
the favorable comparisons with other institutions of higher
It was Chancellor Khayat's love for Ole Miss that prompted
his interest in the possibility of a presidential debate being hosted
at the university. In 2003, he walked into my office and asked if I
knew anything about the presidential debates that had been
hosted on university campuses. My reply was that I knew only of a
university or two that had hosted in the past. He instructed me to
get as much information as possible because he felt that hosting
one in the 2004 campaign would be a good way to get our story
told to the world. That goal of telling our story, of showing the
world that the University of Mississippi had overcome many
obstacles and was now a player on the international stage of
research universities, would be our focus for the next four years as
we learned that the best course of action was to concentrate on the
election year of 2008 rather than 2004. The chancellor asked me to
begin working on this possibility and promised his full support.
The more we discussed the opportunity of telling our story — rising
from a small, regional, provincial university with much historical
baggage, to a diverse, comprehensive, world class research
university — the more excited he became.
When the Commission on Presidential Debates first sent a
team of inspectors to Ole Miss, the team members were impressed
with the chancellor's commitment. He immediately assured them
2011] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 89
that we would make every effort necessary. The Commission will
not discuss why a site is chosen, and it is all speculation why we
were selected in the late fall of 2007 as one of the four sites, but it
was obvious the commitment shown by Robert Khayat from that
first official visit was a major factor. The amount of money
required, the massive physical changes in the campus, and the
demands on the staff were daunting at times, but the chancellor's
commitment to making it a positive experience for the Ole Miss-
Oxford communities never wavered.
There were times when the changes to the campus and to the
Ford Center were painful for him to watch — especially when the
ugly chain link fence was erected. 77 There were occasions when he
would storm into my office and ask why particular changes had to
be made. He would offer suggestions for me to give the Secret
Service or the Commission staff, but he knew like the suggestion
on shutting the Grove for rain on game day, the answer would be
the same. However, as the changes fell into place, the chancellor's
worries were eased and he increasingly left the details to the
Steering Committee while he concentrated on the big picture. He
also had the foresight to realize that changes we were required to
make for debate day should be made with the future in mind and
have positive permanent effects as much as possible.
As the debate day approached he became more at peace and
less concerned with the details. He was increasingly pleased with
the student and faculty participation and encouraged everyone's
involvement. He was confident, calm, and certain the debate
would occur even in the midst of the crisis presented by Senator
McCain's threat to not show. 78
Friday, September 26, 2008, went perfectly in every way. One
of our most prominent alumni said to me immediately after the
77 In preparation for the debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates required
the university to erect fencing around the Ford Center and block nearby roads to
protect the safety of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. Jason
Linkins, Ole Miss Officials: Debate Cancellation Would be $5.5 Million Loss, HUFFPOST
POLITICS (Sept. 24, 2008 5:49 PM). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/24/ole-miss-
78 Senator John McCain temporarily suspended his campaign in order to focus on
congressional negotiations concerning the downturn in the U.S. economy and the
proposed Paulson Bailout Package. As a result, McCain requested the debates at Ole
Miss be postponed, which worried university officials that he may not attend the
scheduled debate. Id.
90 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
debate, "I have never been prouder of my alma mater as I am
tonight." Chancellor Robert Khayat was also filled with pride. The
debate was the perfect capstone to the renaissance he had
inspired. Due to his leadership, Ole Miss had shown the world the
new University of Mississippi.
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 9 1
J. Warner Alford Jr.*
With the help of a young lady named Barbara Jean Hill — a
classmate of mine at McComb High — I first met Robert Khayat in
1955 during my senior year of high school. Barbara Jean had an
aunt and uncle in Moss Point, whom she would often visit. When
Barbara Jean would visit Moss Point, Robert — then the big man
on campus at Moss Point High — would show her around town, and
they became friends.
Our senior year, Robert and I both signed with Ole Miss to
play football. That fall, McComb hosted the South Big-Eight
basketball tournament, and Barbara Jean told me Robert was
coming to play. She also suggested I talk to him about rooming
together at Ole Miss. When I found Robert during a break in play,
I said, "Look, Barbara Jean says we ought to room together at Ole
Miss," to which he replied 'Yeah, I guess she's right." That's how
Robert and I met and started a friendship that flourished during
our college years and remains today. That friendship has allowed
me to view Robert's greatest triumphs, but has also provided me
with a glimpse of his resiliency and his ability to overcome all
obstacles and setbacks that he encounters.
Most people do not know that Robert planned to become a
doctor when he enrolled at Ole Miss. In fact, he came to Oxford
the summer before his freshman year to take a Chemistry class, so
he wouldn't have to take it while playing football in the fall. His
teacher was CM. Jones, better known to his students as "Cyanide
Jones." Robert told me that Jones covered everything he had
learned in Chemistry at Moss Point High in the first ten minutes
of his college class. When "Cyanide" handed grades out at the end
of the term, Robert got a D.
* J. Warner Alford Jr.: B.B.A., University of Mississippi; M.A., University of
Mississippi. Alford, a native of McComb, Mississippi, served as a captain of the Rebels'
1960 SEC and National Championship football team. A guard on the Rebels' offensive
line, Alford was inducted into the Ole Miss Sports and the Mississippi Sports Halls of
Fame. Following his playing career, Alford returned to Ole Miss to serve as defensive
line coach under Head Coach Billy Kinard. In 1978, Alford was hired as the University
of Mississippi athletic director and held that position until 1994. From 1994 to 2004
Alford served as an executive in the insurance industry, before returning to Ole Miss in
2004 to lead the Ole Miss Alumni Association as its executive director. Alford is
married to the former Kay Swayze, and the couple has three children and six
92 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
He was determined to do better the next semester, but after
the first, he knew he needed help. So Robert went to talk to
Cyanide Jones and said, "Dr. Jones, I really need some help in this
class." Jones agreed, saying, "I think we can get you through this
class, but if you pass, I want you to promise me you will never step
foot in the Chemistry building again." Robert agreed and
eventually did pass, but I always liked to say that Jones'
Chemistry class ended Robert's hope of becoming a doctor, at least
While at Ole Miss, Robert was a star athlete in two sports.
He played baseball for Coach Tom Swayze and football for Coach
John Vaught. As the Rebels' catcher, he helped lead Ole Miss to
back-to-back SEC Championships in 1959 and 1960. As the
Rebels' kicker, he led the nation in scoring by a kicker in 1958 and
1959. He also earned Academic All-American and All-SEC honors
in 1959. All of those accolades, however, would not have been
possible had Robert not had the resiliency he possessed.
Early in his college career, in 1958, we played the University
of Tennessee in Knoxville. We had never beaten Tennessee in
Knoxville, ever, but we were playing pretty good that game. We
were up 16-12 after the half, but the lead didn't last long.
Tennessee had a little back named Gene Etter, who broke a long
run, and they went up 18-16. Then we got the ball and started
driving down field. We moved the ball all the way to the 19-yard
line, and all Robert had to do was kick a field goal to win the
game — but Robert missed. A kick he had probably made a million
times, but this time he was off the mark.
That miss tore him up. When we got back to campus, Robert
told me he was going to the stadium. I asked if he wanted me to go
with him, but he said, "No, I'll take Bill Keys." Bill, who was
manager of our team, tells the story of how they went to the
stadium, and he held the ball on the 19yard line, while Robert
kicked and kicked and kicked. Robert tells me he sometimes
wakes up in the middle of the night and still thinks about missing
Robert's determination paid off, and after graduation the
Washington Redskins drafted him in the NFL draft. He kicked for
them, and even went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year. It was a
golden year for Robert, and it appeared that everything was going
201 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 93
great. During the offseason, however, he went to Vicksburg to do
his practice teaching, as he was planning on teaching high school
after his football career. It was during that time, in the summer of
1961, that he developed pancreatitis. It was terrible. Robert's
family was called to the hospital several times and told he wasn't
going to make it, but like every other tough situation he has faced,
he overcame it. He eventually went back home to Moss Point to
recover, but he often says that he left Mercy Hospital in an
ambulance, "but it could have been a hearse." Not only did Robert
overcome his life-threatening illness, but he returned to the NFL
and continued his pro career.
Robert's perseverance would earn him induction into the Ole
Miss Athletics Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of
Fame. During the Ole Miss Football Centennial in 1993, fans
chose him as the kicker on the "Team of the Century." He also
received the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 and the
National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's
Distinguished American Award in 2003.
Following his pro career, Robert returned to our beloved Ole
Miss to attend law school, where he graduated third in his class in
1966. Robert loved it so much that three years later he joined the
law school's faculty. He took a short leave of absence during the
1980-1981 academic year to earn a master of laws at Yale
University before returning home to Ole Miss to teach once again.
Robert then ascended to the position of associate dean of the law
school before moving to the lyceum to serve as vice chancellor in
1984. In 1989, Robert became the first president of the NCAA
Foundation, a position he held for three years, but was once again
called back to his post as a law professor at Ole Miss.
In 1993, the Ole Miss Law School was looking for a dean.
Robert absolutely loves Ole Miss and the school of law, and he
wanted nothing more than to be dean, but the faculty voted him
unacceptable. Robert was incredibly hurt. I remember telling him,
"Look, I think God has something better for you. Your time will
come." I had no idea how prophetic those words would be. Two
years later, the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher
Learning selected Robert to be the university's chancellor. The
rest, as they say, is history. His legendary accomplishments as
94 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
chancellor are well-documented and would not have been possible
had it not been for Robert's unwillingness to give up.
When Robert and I were playing football for Ole Miss, there
was a 25-second play clock, meaning that if somebody knocked you
on your keister or rang your bells so to speak, you had 25 seconds
to shake it off, get back up, and get yourself back into the game.
We called that the 25-second rule and Robert applied it to every
aspect of his life both on and off the field. He refused to let
difficulties or disappointments keep him down for long. It is why
he has always bounced back, whether from missing a kick, illness,
getting passed over as dean, or receiving letters and calls from
people who wanted the university to halt its progress. Robert
Khayat refuses to give up or be deterred by setbacks.
While he was chancellor, there were many challenges and
obstacles that could have hindered his progress. But, just as he
did in his personal life, Robert applied the 25-second rule and
overcame them. As a result, Ole Miss improved academically and
athletically, and it truly became the great public university that
Everyone knows of Robert's love for people and his affection
for Ole Miss. As chancellor, he called members of the Ole Miss
community his "family." Those of us who know him well know how
much he meant those words. He believed in Ole Miss, and he
wouldn't accept the thought that we, as a family, couldn't achieve
our goal of becoming a great public university.
That resiliency is embedded in his character. Robert is able to
make people believe in themselves and he inspires people to be
better than they thought they could be. Others didn't start
believing this really was a great university until they witnessed
how much Robert Khayat believed in the university and how
much he was willing to overcome to move the university forward.
One of Robert's greatest goals was securing a Phi Beta Kappa
chapter for Ole Miss. Achieving that goal was like winning the
national championship and making the game-winning kick. No
one believed we could win, but Robert went after it, and he
achieved it. As long as I've known him, when he sets his mind to
achieving something, he does whatever it takes to achieve that
20 1 1] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 95
The University of Mississippi is better because of Robert's
love, service, and vision for making it a great university. He lived
and fulfilled his dream for Ole Miss through his dynamic
leadership, which he learned on the playing field. That's where he
learned the benefits of teamwork and developed his never-quit
attitude. As chancellor, he built a leadership team that loved him
and Ole Miss, and then he gave us the ball and let us run with it.
Because we believed in him and believed in what he wanted to
accomplish, there wasn't anything we couldn't do. When the game-
ending buzzer sounded, Robert and his team had transformed the
It is a fitting symbol of his love and his resolve that the
school that once voted him unacceptable as its dean now finds
itself housed in a building bearing his name.
96 MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL [VOL. 81:1
2011] ROBERT C. KHA YAT LAW CENTER 97
Chancellor Daniel W. Jones*
When Robert C. Khayat announced his retirement as
chancellor two years ago, many of us were deeply shaken. We
simply could not imagine Ole Miss without him at its helm,
because it was he who inspired us to accomplish more than we
ever dreamed we could, and we treasured the years we were
privileged to work with him. Few loved the university and its
people more, or better, than he did, and it was that love that
inspired him, and us, to work to build Ole Miss into a great
university worthy of admiration and respect.
Chancellor Khayat's deep affection for Ole Miss began as a
student, when he was a catcher for baseball coach Tom Swayze
and a kicker and lineman for legendary football coach John
Vaught. Since then, that affection, coupled with his ability to
enable people to believe in themselves and what they are doing,
has sparked a multitude of achievements that faculty, staff,
students, and alumni believed impossible.
Those of us in the Ole Miss community caught our first
glimpse of that love when he was invested as chancellor. He began
his tenure by shoring up academic programs. He did so by sharing
his vision for academic excellence with others and enlisting their
help to significantly increase endowments, library holdings,
technological resources, liberal arts programs, and student
scholarships. Shortly afterward, university faculty secured a Phi
Beta Kappa chapter, the first awarded to a public university in
Chancellor Khayat demonstrated this love and commitment
many times during his fourteen years as our CEO. On his watch,
* Daniel W. Jones, M.D., is the 16th chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Prior to
his appointment on July 1, 2009, Dr. Jones was vice chancellor for health affairs, dean
of the school of medicine, and Herbert G. Langford professor of medicine at the
University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. Active in the American
Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Jones served as national president of the organization
from 2007 to 2008. A native Mississippian, he graduated from Mississippi College in
1971 and earned his M.D. in 1975 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Upon completion of his residency, he maintained a private practice in Laurel.
Mississippi. A fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Jones is certified by the
American Board of Internal Medicine and is designated as a specialist in clinical
hypertension by the American Society of Hypertension Specialists. He has been named
one of the "Best Doctors in America" from 1996 to 2008 and is a member of Alpha
Omega Alpha national honor medical society.
98 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
Ole Miss conducted two capital campaigns that raised nearly $775
million. With the help of thousands of donors, the university
created its top-notch Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College,
Lott Leadership Institute, Croft Institute for International
Studies, and Galtney Center for Academic Computing. The
university also produced two Rhodes Scholars, rose in the national
rankings, and hosted a presidential debate. All of these
accomplishments, and others, reflect Chancellor Khayat's ability
to share his affection and vision for the university with all of those
Chancellor Khayat has been a dedicated caretaker. He left
the university a foundation that includes one of the country's most
beautiful and well-maintained campuses, an annual operating
budget of nearly $1.5 billion, and a legacy of securing more than
$170 million worth of research each year, and providing some
$138 million annually in financial aid to deserving students.
Under his transformational leadership, Ole Miss invested more
than $535 million in physical facilities on the Oxford and Jackson
campuses. On the Oxford campus, these facilities include a new
performing arts center, chapel, business and accountancy complex,
eight-story Inn at Ole Miss, indoor practice facility, academic
support center, residential college, and office buildings for the
athletics and physical plant departments. At the University of
Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, new facilities include a
new university hospital, student union, research center, health-
related professions building, and new critical care, children's, and
women and infants hospitals.
Few people have done more to enhance the university, and
certainly no one could have asked for more effort, diligence, love,
and ability than we received from Robert Khayat. Chancellor
Khayat was never shy about telling members of the university
family that they have a responsibility to move our university and
state forward. His increased expectations lifted every part of the
university, and that has led to greater expectations throughout
our state. During my time at the Medical Center, he encouraged
us to expand our vision and role in addressing health disparities
in our state and nation. Like many others, I simply couldn't say,
"No" whenever he asked for my help, and working with him is a
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER 99
We believed in him and believed in what he wanted to
accomplish for our university, so we gave to Ole Miss, or we gave
our best for her. It could be said that Chancellor Khayat created
and coached his own legendary team of Ole Miss faculty, staff,
students, alumni, and friends. We are privileged to have been a
part of that team.
Our former provost once said that Ole Miss was relatively
unknown before Robert Khayat became its chancellor, but was
much more nationally prominent when he retired in 2009. 79
Chancellor Khayat did, indeed, change the university's direction,
and I, too, think history will treat him as one of the heroes of Ole
Miss. I say that because I watched his efforts to make his alma
mater blind to color and warm and welcoming to all. Under his
leadership, the university commemorated the fortieth anniversary
of its integration, erected a civil rights monument, and established
the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. By the time
he retired, Chancellor Khayat had helped create a model of
reconciliation and a university culture that values and respects
the dignity of everyone.
When Chancellor Khayat retired nearly two years ago, he
said he was doing so "with a heart filled with gratitude to the
thousands of people who support our university" and "with an
abiding affection for the people and the school." 80 We, on the other
hand, will always be thankful for his many years of leadership
and service. Many of us have tried over the years to express our
gratitude and our affection for him. But those efforts fell short of
the appreciation Robert Khayat is owed. We have inducted him
into our Athletics Hall of Fame, chosen him as the kicker for our
"Team of the Century" and our Outstanding Law Professor of the
Year, and established scholarships in his name. Now we are
immensely proud to place the name Robert C. Khayat upon this
school's magnificent new law center not only to ensure that his
contributions to Ole Miss are remembered by future generations,
79 Chancellor Announces Retirement Plans: Robert Khayat to Retire June 30, After
14 years Shepherding Ole Miss, (Jan. 6, 2009), http://news.olemiss.edu/index.php7opt
100 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
but also to inspire them to accomplish more than they ever
dreamed they could.
ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER
*Robert Khayat played catcher for the Ole Miss
Rebels baseball team
*As a result of his success on the football field,
Robert Khayat was selected as the placekicker
on the Ole Miss "Team of the Century"
MISSISSIPPI LA W JO URNAL
■ ■:-: ',. I '■'": '
*The Washington Redskins drafted Robert
Khayat in the 1960 National Football
*Robert Khayat served as the Redskins'
starting kicker for three years
ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER
*Professor Khayat lecturing first-year law students in
what is now Farley Hall
*Associate Dean Khayat at work in his office at the
Lamar Law Center
MISSISSIPPI LA W JOURNAL [VOL. 81:1
*Chancellor Khayat leads students on a walk through
*Chancellor Khayat at work in his office in the Lyceum
201 1] ROBERT C. KHAYAT LAW CENTER
*Chancellor Emeritus Khayat in the new Robert C. Khayat
*Chancellor Emeritus Khayat with wife Margaret,
daughter Margaret Khayat Bratt and her husband
David, son Robert C. Khayat, Jr., and his wife Susannah
Baker Khayat, and the Khayat's grandchildren Molly,
Ben, and Betsey